Half A Sixpence by Evie Grave
True love sometimes comes at a price
East Kent, 1830
Catherine Rook takes her peaceful life for granted. Her days are spent at the village school and lending a hand on her family’s farm. Life is run by the seasons, and there’s little time for worry.
But rural unrest begins sweeping through Kent, and when Pa Rook buys a threshing machine it brings turbulence and tragedy to Wanstall Farm. With the Rooks’ fortunes forever changed, Catherine must struggle to hold her family together.
She turns to her childhood companion, Matty Carter, for comfort, and finds more than friendship in his loving arms. But Matty has his own family to protect, and almost as quickly as their love blossomed their future begins to unravel.
With the threat of destitution nipping at her heels, Catherine must forge a way out of ruin . . .
This is Debut novel, that opens in 1830 Kent. The characters are from all walks of lives and the poverty of 1830 is explored fully. Your heart begins to warm to the individuals and you feel invested in their journeys throughout the novel.
Last year I read the entire series of Poldark and I was absolutely gripped and I would say this is extremely similar. The characterisation is massively on point, fans of Poldark will LOVE it!
I loved the use of relevant terms for the era ‘gallivantin’ etc.
The peace and tranquillity of Overshill is atmospheric at the beginning and I also felt jealous of Catherine’s simple farm life. but then I discovered that in 1830 social hierarchy is everything!
There are some subtle theme of politics, power, charity and it is rich in historical accuracy. Catherine’s Pa was in instant favourite of mine, holds strict socialist values, before socialism was a political movement! highly recommend to fans of novels in the saga or historical fiction genre. 5*
Guest Post: Character Profile Matty Carter
I’m delighted to join you for today’s stop on my blogtour with Half a Sixpence, the first book in a new series, a Victorian family saga. It’s the story of Catherine Rook, a country girl born in East Kent in 1817. She grows up in Overshill with her best friend, Emily, and the other village children, including the mischievous Matty Carter.
I’d love to tell you a little more about him.
I was inspired to write about Matty by my family tree in which there are several farm labourers, including one who worked on the land until he was one hundred years old, a fact that I found recorded in a cutting from a local newspaper.
Matty Carter came from a poor family who inhabited a tumbledown cottage near Catherine’s home, Wanstall Farm. He lived with his ma, pa and several siblings with whom he shared a bed, topping and tailing with them, or taking turns to sleep. They would leave their boots filled with grass to absorb moisture and smells, under the porch that was held up with a chestnut pole.
As a boy of fourteen, he had a reputation for upsetting the girls at the local dame school with mice and slowworms, and he was looked down on for going around Overshill in raggedy clothes. His brown hair stood up on end like a stook of corn, the bridge of his nose was spattered with freckles and his cheeks were always smeared with dirt.
His father was a farm labourer and Matty took after him, starting out in work at nine years old as a bird scarer when he’d work from dawn till dusk, chasing the birds off the seeds in the fields by blowing a whistle, and hurling stones. When he was older, he became a ploughboy, walking up and down the furrow with the horses. He played the fiddle and sang with his father and brothers who were often worse for wear at the local church every Sunday in return for a few extra pennies. He collected honey from the woods and filched bits and pieces that he found lying around to support the Carters, but in spite of the family’s efforts, they were always short of money, a problem made worse by his mother’s chronic illness that kept her bed-bound.
In spite of their lowly situation, Matty and his family were proud people. Matty had a clear sense of justice and followed his heart. He usually did the right thing, but sometimes went about it the wrong way.
Determined to better himself, Matty had ambitions to rent a few acres of land and become a sheep farmer in the future, but when the rural idyll of East Kent was thrown into unrest with the arrival of mechanisation on the farms, his plans were thrown into disarray.
I hope you enjoy reading about Matty in Half a Sixpence.
Evie Grace was born in Kent, and one of her earliest memories is of picking cherries with her grandfather who managed a fruit farm near Selling. Holidays spent in the Kent countryside and the stories passed down through her family inspired her to write Half a Sixpence.
Evie now lives in Devon with her partner and dog. She has a grown-up daughter and son.
She loves researching the history of the nineteenth century and is very grateful for the invention of the washing machine, having discovered how the Victorians struggled to do their laundry.
Half a Sixpence is Evie’s first novel in her Maids of Kent trilogy. Half a Heart and Half a Chance will follow.
Via Publisher: https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/evie-grace/1079654/