The Mistress of Windfell Manor by Diane Allen

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The Mistress of Windfell Manor by Diane Allen

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Amy Etherington
Reviewed by Amy Etherington
Summary: The Mistress of Windfell Manor is an easy, cosy read that feels perfect for the winter months. Set in the Yorkshire Dales, this story is atmospheric and even a little heart-breaking.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: October 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
External links: [www.diane-allen.co.uk Author's website]
ISBN: 978-1447287315

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Charlotte Booth is the beautiful daughter of a successful wool farmer and like any young Victorian woman, she looks forward to the day she can be married and have a family of her own. Her childhood sweetheart Archie has a place in Charlotte's heart, but he cannot provide her with the life she desires, so when wealthy mill owner Joseph Dawson comes to town Charlotte sees her luck begin to change. After a brief courtship, Charlotte and Joseph marry and move in to the illustrious Windfell Manor, but things soon turn sour when one of Joseph's mill workers is found dead and Charlotte starts to suspect that Joseph isn't the man she first thought he was.

Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres to read and although I don't read much fiction set in Victorian England, The Mistress of Windfell Manor is the kind of book that's perfect for a cosy night in by the fire. It's an atmospheric yet easy read to get in to and although the story may feel slow at times, it's got enough grit and historical details to keep you interested. Plus, the remote country setting in the northern hills creates an atmosphere which is ideal for chilly autumn nights.

My first impressions of Diane Allen's latest work was that this was going to be a historical crime novel: a young woman marries a man she hardly knows only for a body to show up not far from her new home just weeks in to her marriage. As it turns out, there isn't much mystery to the story because you find out very early on what the motive of each character is, so you're reading to see how the actions of each of the characters affect the lives of everyone around them. I would have liked to have had a little mystery to the plot and been able to try figure everything out along with the characters, but it's still a good read.

At first I thought Charlotte might grate on me, but she grows into a promising heroine as the story progresses – she's likeable, strong, and isn't a pushover which I was especially pleased about. She fights throughout the story and never backs down. Parts of this book actually reminded me of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca which is an excellent work of literature, and I sensed Diane Allen might have been inspired to base the stern housekeeper of Windfell Manor on the formidable Mrs. Danvers. Overall, this is a pleasing and enjoyable story for fans of Diane Allen or for anyone who fancies a bit of easy-reading historical fiction.

Thank you to the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. If this book sounds like it might interest you, then I recommend Gypsy by Lesley Pearse, which is a superb story of love and loss set in late Victorian England.

Buy The Mistress of Windfell Manor by Diane Allen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Mistress of Windfell Manor by Diane Allen at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Mistress of Windfell Manor by Diane Allen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Mistress of Windfell Manor by Diane Allen at Amazon.com.


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