Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: "A Divided Inheritance" by Deborah Swift


Synopsis: London 1609...

Elspet Leviston’s greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel’s lace business. But her dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin Zachary Deane – who has his own designs on Leviston’s Lace.

Zachary is a dedicated swordsman with a secret past that seems to invite trouble. So Nathaniel sends him on a Grand Tour, away from the distractions of Jacobean London. Elspet believes herself to be free of her hot-headed relative but when Nathaniel dies her fortunes change dramatically. She is forced to leave her beloved home and go in search of Zachary - determined to claim back from him the inheritance that is rightfully hers.

Under the searing Spanish sun, Elspet and Zachary become locked in a battle of wills. But these are dangerous times and they are soon embroiled in the roar and sweep of something far more threatening, sending them both on an unexpected journey of discovery which finally unlocks the true meaning of family . . .

A Divided Inheritance is a breathtaking adventure set in London just after the Gunpowder Plot and in the bustling courtyards of Golden Age Seville.

My Thoughts:  This book was nothing like I expected it to be.  To be honest, it started off kind of slow and took me a little time to get into.  That being said, after a while, the story and characters changed dramatically and I really got into it.  It was almost as if the change of scenery, from England to Spain, changed the whole tone of the story.

I had a really hard time liking Zachary and Elspet at first.  They both had some unappealing character flaws and they just seemed hard to relate to.  Elspet was kind of stuck up and Zachary was just pure trouble.  They didn't really open up so that the reader could get to know them until they arrived in Spain.  Elspet became tough and self-reliant and Zachary became a much more sympathetic character.  It was almost as though the act of the characters finding themselves made them more likable; once I got to know the 'real' Elspet and Zachary, I couldn't help but love them.

I find this period in Spanish history to be extremely interesting.  It never ceases to amaze me that the Spanish government decided to deport all those of Moorish descent from the country and I think the author did an amazing job of portraying these events.  I loved that Ms. Swift included a Morisco family in her cast of characters; reading about Luisa and her family made these events seem even more deplorable and it was heartbreaking to read about families being ripped apart and torn from their homes. 

As are all Ms. Swift's books, A Divided Inheritance is well-written and researched.  Her descriptions of life in both England and Spain are breath-taking and I can only imagine how much research she had to do to write so vividly about the art of swordsmanship.  Overall, a great read!  3 1/2 stars. 

About the Author:



Deborah Swift used to work in the theatre and at the BBC as a set and costume designer, before studying for an MA in Creative Writing in 2007. She lives in a beautiful area of Lancashire near the Lake District National Park.  She is the author of The Lady’s Slipper and is a member of the Historical Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and the Romantic Novelists Association.


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