Monday, August 11, 2008

The Jewel Of Gresham Green by Lawana Blackwell

Reading Lawana Blackwell's newest novel was like sitting down with old friends. I began reading her historical novels several years ago. In fact, she was just about the ONLY historical novelist I read at all!

I remember when Julia found out her rotten husband had left her and their three children virtually penniless. I encouraged her when she took possession of Larkspur Inn and made a go of it, nearly working herself to death. And I was so pleased with the two servants who went with her, especially Miss Fiona.

So when famous actor Ambrose Clay takes a shine to Fiona, I was delighted. Soon Elizabeth is smitten...not once, but twice. I watched as she chose her many marriages and so much to observe!

"The Jewel of Gresham Green" opens with evidence that, in any time and place, the predator still dwells. Jewel Libby is just making ends come close to meeting when her landlord's manager makes untoward advances to her...and to her precious daughter, Becky.

Forced to flee the man's sick pursuit, she and her preschooler find refuge in the local vicar's home. While caring for Jewel and Becky, the vicar makes arrangements for the two to travel to Gresham to care for Vicar Andrew Phelps and his wife, Julia.

What once promised to be a quite little place to live turns out to have problems of its own. Philip Hollis, son to Andrew and Julia, arrives home in a family crisis and delivers one of his own...his marriage to socialite Loretta is over.

Daughter Adela has taken residence in the Squire's now abandoned cottage, only to fear being turned out should the Squire succumb to his illness and the nephew take possession of the estate.

And Donald Gibbs is a predator of a different kind, but just as insidious and crafty. His plans to woo one of the already wed women of Gresham in order to line his pockets until his uncle's demise could be the undoing of an entire family...even the village itself!

What help can Jewel bring to this troubled little English town? Will she find the inner strength she needs to make things hidden come to light? And can she ever see beyond the suffering she's endured to find happiness for herself and little Becky?

With a "Little House on the Prairie" feel, set in jolly old England, fans of historicals will be delighted with the fourth installment in the Gresham Chronicles series. If you've never visited Gresham, this is the perfect way to get 'caught up in the happenings'.

I'm giving "The Jewel of Gresham Green" four out of five bookmarks, with a wheel of cheese as a charm!

Happy Reading!


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