Book Source: Won @ Alaine Queen of Happy Endings - courtesy of author.
Synopsis: In 1870 England, industry and modernization are the order of the day, but for Kate Thurgood the world outside the remote farm where she dwells with her mother is a faraway mystery, formed in her mind only through secondhand information. She has lived without questioning their lifestyle or why her mother, a lowly servant, is so much more refined than others of her station. If she had given it thought she might have guessed there existed a hidden piece of information concerning them, and a scandalous one at that. With its revelation comes a world of opportunity—and potential danger. It could lead to every imaginable earthly fulfillment, or poverty to an extreme even Kate hasn’t known. She will experience how life should have been for her, if not for a callous deed committed before her birth that has cast a shadow over her name, a deed so radical no one can—or wishes to—come to terms with it.
Kate is thrust into situations she feels unequipped to handle. Perhaps Mr. Roeing, the endearing and curious new foreman on the farm, can help guide her. It appears he is more informed than he is letting on.
Roeing Oaks is an enjoyable read dealing with the custom of wife-selling in the mid 1800's and the outcome of this practice for a mother and her daughter. I was fascinated and horrified to learn that this illegal practice was quite commonly used as an alternative to the lengthy and difficult process of divorce ... I don't know which is worse, being sold to the highest bidder or being committed to a lunatic asylum, another regular occurrence in this 'enlightened' period, allowing a husband to rid himself of a wife who has outgrown her use. Neither sound like an appealing prospect. But there's more to this story than wife auctions and servitude, it's also a story of love and redemption.
Kate has laboured on a farm for much of her life, along with her mother, Victoria. When secrets regarding Kate's parentage and her mother's lineage are revealed, it opens the door on a new and grandiose world previously unknown to Kate. The introduction of Mr Roeing adds an air of mystery to the story and the growing feelings between Mr Roeing and Kate bring a sweetness that's a welcome relief to the backdrop of poverty.
Kate is a naive, endearing character, who's growth throughout the novel occurs alongside finding her place in the echelons of society. Whilst I guessed the outcome of the story early on, I loved Kristina Emmons' writing style, almost a 'Pride & Prejudice' feel, and the slow unveiling of intriguing tidbits that eventually tie the story together.
There will be a sequel to Roeing Oaks so I'm really looking forward to reading more from this author.
Visit Kristina Emmons website for more information.
This month on The Eclectic Reader one lucky reader can win The Sky Is Everywhere OR Mockingjay OR By Fire, By Water. Check this blog post for details. International entrants welcome.