Publication Date: 24th October 2013
Book Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours & Pan MacMillan
Synopsis: A family divided by fortune. A country divided by faith.
Elspet Leviston’s greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel’s lace business. But her dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin Zachary Deane – who has his own designs on Leviston’s Lace.
Zachary is a dedicated swordsman with a secret past that seems to invite trouble. So Nathaniel sends him on a Grand Tour, away from the distractions of Jacobean London. Elspet believes herself to be free of her hot-headed relative but when Nathaniel dies her fortunes change dramatically. She is forced to leave her beloved home and go in search of Zachary - determined to claim back from him the inheritance that is rightfully hers.
Under the searing Spanish sun, Elspet and Zachary become locked in a battle of wills. But these are dangerous times and they are soon embroiled in the roar and sweep of something far more threatening, sending them both on an unexpected journey of discovery which finally unlocks the true meaning of family . . .
A Divided Inheritance is a breathtaking adventure set in London just after the Gunpowder Plot and in the bustling courtyards of Golden Age Seville.
My introduction to Deborah Swift's work was through her 2012 novel, The Gilded Lily. I thoroughly enjoyed her story telling ability and was keen to try something else. A Divided Inheritance is another fascinating piece of historical fiction, a multi-layered, well researched tale of tenacity and adventure.
As much as I love Tudor England it certainly made a refreshing change to be immersed in another period, Jacobean London, the lace trade, Spain under King Phillip III's expulsion of the Moriscos, (Spanish Muslims) the religious turmoil in both countries. Deborah Swift covers it with a deft hand and page-turning pace.
Elspet and Zachary are interesting characters - Zachary easy to loathe, but better late than never, he displays some redeeming qualities and earned my respect. Elspet a woman shackled by the constraints on women of the era and yet strong, opinionated, doggedly fighting for what is hers. Without getting spoiler-ish I really enjoyed watching them grow into their 'familial' relationship and cheered as consideration and loyalty became a priority.
The small details were carefully balanced, nuanced, adding authenticity without getting bogged down or boring and surprisingly I really enjoyed the in-depth look at fencing, the philosophy of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa and the dedication required to master the art.
I'd love to see a sequel, after becoming quite invested in Elspet and Zachary's lives, I'd like to see where life takes them next.
Recommend: Absolutely, for fans of historical fiction and those who just enjoy a good adventure.
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