Thursday, February 22, 2018

Miss Mary's Daughter: A New Historical Novel by Diney Costleloe

Welcome!  Diney Costeloe is the author of The Throwaway Children, The Runaway Family, The Girl With No Name, The Sisters of St. Croix, The Lost Soldier, The Married Girls, and Her Missing Husband.  You can find more information on Ms. Costeloe on her website.  Readers can follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@Dineycost), Amazon, Bookbub and Goodreads.  

Miss Mary’s Daughter by Diney Costeloe will sweep you back to 1886.  Sophie Ross is the daughter of Mary and John Ross.  Mary defied her father to marry John and has been estranged from Thomas Penvarrow (and the rest of her family) ever since.  Sophie’s father passed away five years prior and now she is losing her mother.  Unbeknownst to Sophie’s, Mary has written a letter to her family to be posted by Hannah Butts, the housekeeper (and so much more) after her death.  After Mary’s funeral, Sophie starts looking for cheaper lodgings for herself and Hannah as well a position.  One day Sophie opens the door and is surprised to see someone who looks just like her mother.  Matilda “Matty” Treslyn is Mary’s twin sister, and she has come to take Sophie to Trescadinnick House in Port Felec, Cornwell.  Sophie knew nothing about her mother’s family.  Sophie agrees to visit the family estate if Hannah comes along as well.  Sophie soon meets the rest of the Penvarrow family.  Tomas is gruff, Louisa (her aunt) is rude, Charles (a cousin) is distant, Matty is warm, and little Alice Ann is delightful.   Sophie settles in to get to know her relations.  But like any family, there are secrets, arguments, lies and strain.   An unexpected bonus comes in the form of Dr. Nicholas Bryan, Thomas’ physician. What does the future hold for Sophie Ross?  Find out in Miss Mary’s Daughter.

Miss Mary’s Daughter is a well-written historical saga.  I thought the characters were fully developed with a nice variety of different characteristics and personalities.  The characters were realistic with normal emotions (they were not exaggerated).  Sophie was very naïve in the beginning and I was glad to see her grow as the novel progressed.  Little Alice Ann was adorable.  I felt the author captured the era (late 1880s) and locale (London and Cornwall) with her vivid descriptions.  Diney Costeloe’s provided beautiful depictions of the fashions (I love historical clothing).  The pace of the story does slow down a touch in the middle but then it picks back up again around the sixty percent mark.  There is mystery, intrigue, secrets, romance, friendship and family in this novel.  Fans of Rosie Goodwin and Julie Klassen will be delighted with Diney Costeloe’s Miss Mary’s DaughterMiss Mary’s Daughter is a pleasurable novel to read.  Perfect for a rainy or snowy evening settle into a comfortable chair.

Here is an excerpt from Miss Mary's Daughter for your enjoyment:

Sophie woke to an insistent knocking on the front door, and realizing that Hannah must still be out, she glanced into the mirror. Her eyes were red and her hair in disarray, but she sluiced some cold water onto her cheeks, patted the stray wisps of hair into place, and went down to see who should be demanding entrance so determinedly. She opened the front door with words about impatience on her lips, but those words died unspoken as she saw her mother standing outside on the step; her mother, not as she’d last seen her, sunken-eyed, her skin stretched tight across her cheekbones, translucent and paper-white, her hair thin and greying, but as she had been before her illness took hold, cheeks glowing with health, eyes bright with laughter and curiosity, hair thick, rich, dark, luxuriant. Her mother stood on the step, a question in her brown eyes, and said in her gentle voice, ‘Sophia?’
Sophie didn’t pass out, though she thought for a moment or two that she was going to. She simply stared at her mother, her head spinning and her body cold, as the shock hit her and the colour drained from her face. Her lips formed the word Mama, but no sound came and she continued to stare.
Her mother’s expression changed from one of query to one of concern, and stepping forward she took Sophie’s arm and guided her into the house. Sophie sank onto a chair in the hall and the visitor closed the door behind them. For a long, silent moment Sophie remained crouching in the chair at the foot of the stairs, her mind dazed. Diamonds of sunlight cast through the glass of the front door, patterning the floor, and the solemn tick of the grandfather clock emphasized the silence, rather than broke it. Her mother spoke again. Only it wasn’t her mother, of course. Her mother was dead. But it was someone so incredibly like her that it took careful study of her face to notice the differences. When she did speak her voice was one of great concern.
‘Sophia, my dear, are you all right?’
Sophia. Well, her mother had never called Sophie that, and anyway the voice was wrong. This was deeper and there was the trace of an unfamiliar accent, missing from her mother’s voice.
The visitor continued. ‘I’m sorry if I’ve given you a shock, my dear. I did write but perhaps you’ve not received my letter yet. I’m your Aunt Matilda and I’ve come to take you home.’
Sophie stared at her uncomprehendingly. ‘Aunt Matilda?’
Her aunt said gently, ‘Yes. Aunt Matty. I’m your mother’s twin. She’ll have told you about me, no doubt. Your grandfather wants you to come home.’
Still dazed, Sophie ignored the last part of what she’d said, but latched on to the first. ‘Her twin? I didn’t know she had a twin. I didn’t even know she had a sister… or any family!’
Matilda knew from the letter that Mary hadn’t told Sophie she was writing to Trescadinnick, but she’d assumed that Sophie had at least some knowledge of the family. Clearly not. She smiled and reached for Sophie’s hand. ‘Well, we’ve obviously got a good deal of catching up to do. Perhaps we could go into the parlour and have some tea.’

Thank you for stopping by today.  I hope I have enticed you to pick up a copy of Miss Mary's Daughter.  It can be purchased on Amazon, Kobo, GooglePlay Store and iBooks.  Tomorrow I will be featuring A Mother's Love by Charlotte Hubbard (currently $2.99 on Amazon).  May you have a day full of whimsy and happiness.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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