About the book
Edwardian England. Agnes Ashford knows that her duty is threefold: she needs to work on cataloguing the archive of the titled Bryant family, she needs to keep the wounds of her past tightly under wraps, and she needs to be quietly grateful to her employers for taking her up in her hour of need. However, a dark secret she uncovers due to her work thrusts her into the Bryants’ brilliant orbit – and into the clutch of their ambitions.
They are prepared to take the new century head-on and fight for their preeminent position and political survival tooth and nail – and not just to the first blood. With a mix of loyalty, competence, and well-judged silence Agnes rises to the position of a right-hand woman to the family matriarch – the cunning and glamorous Lady Helen. But Lady Helen’s plans to hold on to power through her son are as bold as they are cynical, and one day Agnes is going to face an impossible choice…
As a story alone, this book is captivating: filled to the brim with family politics, conflict, and drama, it has an intricate plot, morally questionable characters, and an LGBTQ+ romance – all set against the backdrop of a mysterious, gothic castle in Edwardian England. When I found out it was actually based on real events from history, I was even more intrigued. The book is incredibly well-researched, full of little details that make all the difference in historical fiction.
I love a morally grey, flawed protagonist, so I enjoyed following Agnes and her climb to power within the Bryant household immensely. Her relationship with Lady Helen, particularly the power struggle between them, was one of the most gripping parts of the book.
Fielding’s gift for transporting description shines not only in her depiction of Edwardian England, but also in her illustration of Italy when the characters take a trip there. A major plus point of this book is its power to completely immerse the reader in its setting.
Thank you to Annabel Fielding for asking me to be on this blog tour, and for the ARC via NetGalley!
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