Author: Deborah Swift
Series: Stand Alone
Published: November 27th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Sent for arranged tour
Description: England, 1660. Ella Appleby believes she is destined for better things than slaving as a housemaid and dodging the blows of her drunken father. When her employer dies suddenly, she seizes her chance--taking his valuables and fleeing the countryside with her sister for the golden prospects of London. But London may not be the promised land she expects. Work is hard to find, until Ella takes up with a dashing and dubious gentleman with ties to the London underworld. Meanwhile, her old employer's twin brother is in hot pursuit of the sisters.
I Give This ...
I didn't know it was possible to dislike a character as much as I did Ella and still like the book. It's really Sadie, Ella's sister, that makes this story worth reading.
I wasn't sure what to think about Ella right from the start. To take her dead employer's things and flee was just crazy. She didn't even leave the watch he was wearing! I admired her determination to take her sister, but her actions throughout the book left me surprised that she even did it. Ella is entirely selfish and I often wondered if she was delusional as well. She was enamored with her new employer who obviously led her on. But, she hints at things with her old employer that left me wondering just a little bit. She convinces herself that she's moving up in the world, but I wasn't buying it. She had to know that there was no way that the nobility wasn't going to accept her in their world. I was absolutely appalled at the way she treated her sister to get to that place.
I loved Sadie. No matter what Ella puts her through, she can't help but see the best in her. She never gives up on her and the idea that blood is thicker than water. It's her courage, determination, and endurance that really pull this story along. She's willing to put up with anything to let Ella have her time in the spotlight. I think it's a truer testament to her character than any of Ella's actions.
I also really enjoyed the darker side to this story. I've read a lot of historical fiction and seems so many times that nobility are shown in a positive light. Yes the many do some nasty things from time to time. But, in this book there are a few characters who seem to do it for sport. It's sad to see how they can get away with it. I'm sure it happened way more often than we every read about.
A very enjoyable historical fiction if you can get past Ella. She's very hard to stomach in some cases. I'm looking forward to reading more from Deborah Swift .