Esme lives a contented life in the countryside of Victorian England at Falford Hall. She is becoming a young woman, beautiful and witty with a passion for riding horses with the hall's stable hand, Tom.
However, when rumours start to fly about nature of Esme and Tom's relationship, hidden feelings begin to come to light and Esme's loving father decides the best course of action is to separate the two to avoid vicious gossip. Tom is sent to South America to conduct business and make a man of himself and a devastated Esme must abandon her tomboyish nature to come out as a woman in the city of Brighton.
With Tom's return scheduled in 18 long months, the star-crossed pair take the test of time, and must battle Esme's snobbish uncle and strict Victorian tradition. How can a stable hand ever win the hand of a Lady without creating a scandal?
So I’ve finished this book and I have to say, this in my opinion is up there with the best of them. Sure, I picked up on a handful of spelling errors, but then again, I’ve found several in Cookson and my fave author, Ian Rankin.
Characters are well-developed (Sir Henry – honest, even if ‘to the manor born’, thoroughly likeable from the off. Esme – such a sweet, loyal heroine and her beau, Tom, maybe a stable lad, but capable of so much more, as is later proved. The last of the ‘good guys’, Tanner, the faithful and trustworthy footman, who’s wisdom and advice is welcomed by Sir Henry. Then we come to the villains of the piece. What unsufferable snobs are William and his despicable son, Robert!)
Enough of the cast. You have blended in so much history, not only of Falford Hall itself, but of each of the main characters and you achieve this whilst maintaining interest, rather than creating a boring ramble. Great stuff! I will skip over the storyline for no other reason that there are so many plusses it would take me all day to single out, and give praise to, each element – suffice to say that the tale’s end is more than satisfactory.
If there’s one point I would query, that would be the “great Poet” Robert’s use of rhyming couplets – something I’m sure we all had a go at during our schooldays – surely the great poets of that time had a more complex structure to their poetry? Or is that me being nit-picking?
So there you have my appraisal of your first work of fiction – a darn good read, indeed, one of those “difficult to put down” novels. Well done!
NB// This review was edited in order to remove spoilers
Thoroughly enjoyable romp across the mid 1800's. Believable characters, some very like-able some really dreadful. The story gets more involved as you read and the lives of everyone get more entwined. I found I had to keep reading to see how it all worked out, I really loved it. Looking forward to the pre-qual promised on Facebook. Some of the later characters deserve more detail.
John Vickery February 2017
When I was asked to review this book, I didn't hesitate in agreeing.
The story deals with Sir Henry and a fathers love for his daughter Esme. His brother William, who's son Robert, a young man who can't get his own way, decides to create upset and mischief within the family, after being rebuffed by Esme, in favour of Tom, the stable boy. The story also depicts Sir Henry's support of trusted employees and their families.
I find it well written, of its time, with well described scenes. The author takes you into the location as if you are actually there.
Well done Sylvia Gallimore. May we have some more please? Maybe a sequel and, or even a prequel?
A delightful story that gently but firmly guides the reader to see the injustice in society without even being aware of it. SUBLIME!
Esme and her father live harmoniously in middle England. Their values on the mark of a man differed
from the materialistic, pompous society they lived in.
They held true to their belief that manners maketh the man. Society at that time revolved around money and the belief that money maketh the man.
An added joy is the exquisite poetry that Gallimore decorates the book with.
I read the book three times and was immersed each time. Phenomenal.
Mrs Judith Banfield, Juniper Way, Bradley Stoke, South Gloucestershire BS32
I was given a copy of this book in the autumn of 2016. Before I had finished reading it I decided that it would be a good Christmas present and I ordered two more copies. Both recipients were very pleased with their present.
This is a simple, clearly told story of a wealthy family living on a country estate near Bath in the early years of the reign of Queen Victoria. It is easy to read a few pages at a time, put down and pick up again without losing the thread. An ideal book to have on your bedside table or to take on holiday with you. As a retired Head mistress I found the historical and geographical information of the 1850's seen through the eyes of Tom one of the characters and written in his letters home during his travels abroad particularly interesting. Congratulations to Sylvie Gallimore for undertaking this extensive research. I did find some of the characters annoying, too good to be true in their ability to forgive and even reward great wrongs. However others might not agree so why not read the book and start a discussion. I am looking forward to learning more about the family in the next book.
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