*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*
Her Mother’s Daughter by Evie Grace
Agnes Berry-Clay might have been born into rags but she is growing up with riches.
Given away as a baby by her real mother, she was rescued and raised by her darling Papa and distant Mama. Agnes wants for nothing, except perhaps a little freedom.
But as times goes on, her life at Windmarsh Court changes. New arrivals and old resentments push Agnes to the peripheries, and finally the consequences of one fateful day shatter her dreams for the future.
Heartbroken and surrounded by the threat of scandal, Agnes is faced with a terrible choice: stay and surrender, or flee and fight to keep her freedom.
Canterbury 1853, Agnes Berry-Clay born into rags buts raised in riches at Windmarsh Court. Her loving adopted father James owns a local brewery, Agnes wants for nothing, except perhaps a little bit of freedom…….
When the novel opens Agnes, is just 14yrs old. She lives in a world surrounded by the help. Where her every need and whim, is met. The wealthy family have a cook Mrs Nidget, a housekeeper Mrs Turner and Agnes’s beloved governess/nanny Miss Treen. But Victorian England is a stifling time for a young woman to be reaching her adulthood.
An era when children should be seen and not heard, where women must ‘know their place’ in society.
“You would be wise to practice obedience until it becomes a habit. When you marry, you will be required to carry out the duties of the lady of the house without question or complaint” – Nanny
Over the course of the beginning of the novel. We learn Agnes’s true parentage. Her adopted mother Louisa, is cold, rude and abrupt towards her. Once Louisa discovers she is pregnant with her own child, which she believes is a much-wanted son. Agnes feels even more emotionally abandoned. But her father remains to treat the children as equals. When Henry is finally born, Agnes does bond with the new arrival.
The novel also features her uncle Rufus, auntie Sarah and cousins Phillip and Edward. Philip longs to be a man of medicine, but this is met with much disapproval. In the Victorian era, the profession of medicine, was often scoffed at by the upper class.
The novel deals with various themes of the Victorian era, with the class system as a central running theme.
Agnes develops into a young woman over the course of the novel. But she is growing up spoilt, rude and uncaring due to the wealth that is showered upon her. As a punishment for her behaviour, her father arranges for her to spend some time with her Nanny’s family. In the hope that witnessing a family from much more humble beginnings, will calm her attitude.
But no one can know, how much this introduction, will come to mean so much to Agnes.
The novel progresses, this time jumping four years ahead to Agnes’s impending 19th birthday. A party is organised as a way to introduce her to high society. With the ultimate goal of securing Agnes, a worthy marriage prospect.
In the preparations for the impending party, Agnes is informed of some painful home truths. Secrets and lies that uproot everything Agnes has ever believed in. It is these secrets that explode at the party, making Agnes a cuckoo in the nest…..
In the aftermath of the party and Agnes’s introduction to high society as an absolute failure. Her mother conspires to marry her off, to her cousin Phillip. Something Agnes neither desires nor wants.
But the cost of her freedom, will mean abandoning everything she has ever known. Does Agnes have the courage to find her own future?
This novel really is a novel of two parts. The first half explains her background and Agnes draws you into her storyline slowly, page by page. I was completely HOOKED on the second half of the novel. Agnes will fully come to understand the implication of ‘hard times’ and poverty. Life for Agnes is going to be far from easy! But in the typical style of a saga novel. I closed the final pages with a smile on my face.
I am a huge fan of saga novels. One of my favourites of all time, Remember Me by Lesley Pearce is set within this era. Although the novels are entirely different in their respective themes. I thought Evie Grace has done a phenomenal job of portraying the era.
This is most definitely her best book yet! 5*
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.
Her Mother’s Daughter is Evie’s second novel in the Maids of Kent trilogy.
*Don’t miss the other blogs on the #BlogTour and the #Giveaway with @arrowpublishing tomorrow via Twitter*