House of Angels


The second book of a series, this recently discovered diary of Martha Morgan, mistress of an estate in Pembrokeshire, covers two momentous years of her life. When tragedy strikes she has to support her young family and the other people who depend on her. Gradually the machinations of her enemies are revealed, and she calls upon numerous friends and locals to bring her news and, when necessary, give her more tangible support in dealing with the threats to her family and their livelihood.

Martha and her children and household are attractive characters lovingly portrayed. This book is written in a very atmospheric style, capturing the language of the early 19th century with evocative descriptions of the countryside indicating that the author knows and loves it. The superstitions of the people, with visions and spells, are used with sympathy to enhance the plot.

There are also detailed descriptions of the weather, the farming year and the agricultural practices of the 1800s. I felt that I could have done with rather less detail on the different methods of reaping wheat, oats and barley, but readers who revel in this amount of local colour will enjoy the novel.

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12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award





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