by Bronwyn Houldsworth
Published by Ocean Reeve Publishing
ISBN 978 1925680287
I’m a romantic, so a historical romance is likely to be up my alley. But only if it’s good.
This one is good, and it’s based on fact.
The author conducted extensive research into a branch of her family tree that had become impenetrable. With name changes, globe-trotting, slave-trading 18th century ancestors and a scandalous court case, it’s not surprising that some descendants let the past stay in the past.
Bronwyn Houldsworth, however, is passionate about family history and spent a decade wandering Britain and America conducting the research that would reveal her ancestor’s secrets.
The protagonist, Nathaniel, is based on the author’s 4th great-grandfather and the book starts with a foolish mistake he made that had dire consequences for the next many years of his life.
To add drama to history, the author peppered the narrative with fictitious situations, including a friendship with a famous artist (who did, in fact, paint Nat’s first wife), the rescue of French nationals and a previous marriage for the woman whose light perpetually shone for Nat. So masterfully were history and fact woven together that by page 245 of the 379 that comprise the book, I had no idea how it was going to end.
By book’s completion, with the scurrilous court case behind him (which, mercifully, left no mark on Nat) he … haha, No spoilers here. You must buy the book to find what happens.
Bronwyn Houldsworth has disclosed that this was a labour of love for her. It shows. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read, and all the more for knowing that much of it is the author’s own history.