Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Mommy's Day with a review of Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Every now and then on Bookworm for Kids, I present a book for all of those mommies (and daddies) out there because parents like to read too! These books do not have questionable content which surpasses that of a usual Young Adult novel. In other words, there's no necessity to hide them under the bed.


LADY OF A THOUSAND TREASURES
The Victorian Ladies, Book One
Sandra Byrd
Tyndale House Publishers
Historical / Mystery / Romance
480 pages



Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

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MY TIDBITS

I don't dive into this type of historical fiction very often, but this read was so much more than I expected and quickly made me a fan of Sandra Byrd.

Eleanor is in a difficult position. At the death of a long term client of her uncle's business, she is declared the proprietor over every collection on the estate. It is her decision to either donate the pieces to a museum or other appropriate place, or leave them and allow the son, Harry, to keep them. As Harry does not enjoy a positive image, the decision appears easy for those around her, especially since Eleanor expected to be engaged to him, but he lied to her and returned from abroad not only half a year later but with another female in his company. This is, however, only the beginning of Eleanor's difficulties.

The author does a wonderful job of allowing the reader to be swallowed up into the time. The descriptions create a believable and vivid world without growing heavy or mundane. Even the antiques which Eleanor constantly handles are well explained and prove the author did her research without growing boring or feeling as if the facts are being forced into the story. It's a lovely mixture, which makes the setting rich and believable.

Eleanor is an extraordinary woman, although she holds just enough of vulnerability to keep her interesting and easy to empathize with. Although she runs into difficult situations time and again, she never demands pity or a loss of hope. Her ability to continue forward and maneuver through the situations makes her a true heroine to follow until the last page.

The tension remains steady as the layers of troubles grow and mystery increases. It's not a fast-paced book but holds the reader in the pages. Eleanor experiences occasional flashbacks, which let emotions, memories and hints slide in when needed. I'll admit, I caught myself skimming these at times.

The romance is subdued and if the reader expects much tension on this end, they will be disappointed. Harry is a mystery for himself, one that Eleanor must discover the truth about. While his attitude and hers make sense, especially as the tale unfolds, there is a lack of spark even at the end. This does, however, allow the other aspects of the story to maintain the attention they need.

This is an engaging read with a wonderful historical richness as well as a grabbing plot. Friends of Victorian fiction with a strong heroine and bit of tension and mystery are sure to enjoy this one.


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