Loxley by Sally Wragg
|Loxley by Sally Wragg|
|Category: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A young woman who married 'out of her class' is left to run an estate when the able-bodied men leave to fight in the first world war. It's a heart-warming story with some twists which I wasn't expecting.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 458KB||Date: August 2013|
Harry, the eleventh Duke of Loxley, fell in love with Bronwyn and they married. It wasn't the match that his mother would have chosen - Bronwyn was, after all, nothing more than the daughter of the local doctor and even Harry and Bronwyn wondered whether or not they'd done the right thing as they struggled to come to terms with married life. Katherine, the dowager Duchess, didn't make Bronwyn's life any easier - I mean, the girl wasn't above starting to clear the breakfast dishes when there were servants to do that sort of thing. And - to cap it all - she still wasn't pregnant and an heir for Loxley was of paramount importance.
Then the Duke went to the Western Front, taking every able-bodied man in his employ with him. Obviously this wasn't going to be a major problem as the war would be over by Christmas with everyone back home safe and sound, but duty had to be done. Bronwyn was left to run the estate and - feeling increasingly isolated - she found herself drawn to the story of Nell, the 1st Duchess of Loxley who ran the estate at the time of the Civil War. Her mother-in-law wouldn't have Nell's name mentioned in the Hall, but Bronwyn found in Nell's history many parallels with her own situation and the tortured ghost mentioned by others appeared to Bronwyn as a comforting smell of lavender.
A century on from the beginning of World War I there's no shortage of fiction and non-fiction books about the subject. What marked this book out for me was the character development. Bronwyn comes into herself when she's expected to be something more than the Duke's wife and can make use of her skills as a manager and her genuine empathy with the people on the estate. Harry has the hardest path to travel: having to cope with life in the trenches and be an example to the men under him, but what surprised me most was the skill with which Sally Wragg developed Katherine, the dowager Duchess. It's no road-to-Damascus conversion, but the story of a woman who is capable of restructuring her priorities as her world changes about her.
I began reading with the thought that I had a pretty good idea of how the story would turn out, but Wragg surprised me with some unexpected twists and the pages turned very quickly as a result. I'd like to thank the author for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
You can read more about Sally Wragg here.
You can read more book reviews or buy Loxley by Sally Wragg at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Loxley by Sally Wragg at Amazon.com.
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