The Cavalier Historian

Written by Dorinda Balchin
Review by J. Lynn Else

Robert Hardwick has been hired to help develop an English Civil War-period themed attraction at Marston Manor. While paging through a family Bible in the manor, Rob discovers a personal link dating back to the time of King Charles I. Rob has been searching for this part of his family tree for years, and he’s ecstatic. But his excitement quickly turns to fear when he’s visited by a malevolent spirit during his first night in the manor house. The spirit proclaims that Rob will pay for the crimes of his family. The following nights, through his dreams, Rob finds himself reliving the life of his ancestor, Simon Hardwycke. Rob isn’t sure if these events are real or if he’s simply going mad. Then he meets Rebekah, a mysterious woman who seems to be at the center of Simon’s story. Can Rob find a way to right a wrong three centuries in the past that involves both Rebekah and the spirit that haunts him?

I found this to be a slow read, but when the plot is so wonderfully rich in historical details, this is not a negative critique. However, the book’s focus, Simon and Rebekah’s budding relationship, becomes lost in the middle section of the story as the plot shifts far into Civil War battles and war politics. Dorinda has definitely done her research, and fans of 17th-century England will delight in how the time period is realized.