Friday, 10 January 2014

Anna Reviews: The Companion of Lady Holmeshire Review and Giveaway

The Companion of Lady Holmeshire
Debra Brown

Three chapters in, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire has quite the spicy stew brewing.  First and foremost, there is Emma, a lowborn girl mysteriously elevated to the rank of lady’s companion. There is also the matter of a little boy of unknown parentage, whom the handsome Earl of Holmeshire has adopted, refusing to explain why. There is the intriguing matter of the gold ring that now adorns Emma’s finger – where did that come from? – and then, to top it all off, there is Genevieve, the Earl’s intended bride – except that she doesn’t seem too keen, and  her father is a most disagreeable man.
The cast of characters is rich and varied, and while Emma is in many ways the protagonist, both Genevieve and the young Earl play central roles, as do the Earl’s widowed mother, the Countess of Holmeshire,  and her sister. There is a horrid old bat, Lady Embry, who takes every opportunity to snub young Emma, there are butlers and housemaids, ne’er do well drunkards, an upright duke and a most sympathetic barrister, Gabriel Hughes. In general, the characters are what they seem to be, some of them good, some of them bad. Yes, one could argue there is a lack of complexity, but in this specific story, the complexity lies in the plot rather than in the character arc.
Set in the early years of Victoria’s reign, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire allows interesting insights into the life of high society. Excellent descriptions of clothes and interiors (seriously, what’s with all those ferns?) go hand in hand with the odd history lesson – elegantly woven into the story as such. While Caroline of Brunswick has been dead for many years when The Companion of Lady Holmeshire opens, it is interesting to note that I close the book with a far more favourable impression of this unhappy woman – and her daughter, the beloved princess Charlotte of Wales, who died so young in childbirth. 
While at times there are a plotline or two too many – such as the blossoming romance between Emma’s lady’s maid and a footman in a London household – this is a fun read, capering through a number of twists and turns until it reaches the ending.
Seedy characters get their comeuppance, the good and generous Earl of Holmeshire gets what he most desires, and Emma, well Emma turns out to be someone entirely different to who she thinks she is. To say more would be to spoil the suspense, but this reader was most happy with how things turned out, even if certain elements were borderline too incredible. 
From a stylistic point of view, Ms Brown is an enthusiastic and energetic writer. At times her point of view slips, and while this tends to be a major issue for this particular reader, this time it is forgiven, due to the pace at which the plot proceeds. In general, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire is a well-written story, with a good balance between descriptive writing and dialogue. At times, the language is overburdened, and the narrative would improve with a pruning of the excessive adjectives. I read this book on Kindle, and was at times irritated by the overall editing – in particular when it comes to spacing, where suddenly a blank line or two would bisect a line of dialogue, making things somewhat confusing. This, however, is a minor issue, and easy to rectify. 
In conclusion, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire is a good read, easy to get into, easy to ride along with. I was still reading well after midnight – a sure sign, in my book, that I was well and truly captivated.  

Ms Brown has generously offered a giveaway, an e-book (Kindle) copy of her book. To enter, please leave a comment below.
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The Companion of Lady Holmeshire is available to buy on Amazon.

About the author
Debra Brown is not only the author of The Companion of Lady Holmeshire. She is also the initiator of the English Historical Fiction Authors Blog, which publishes one post per day, somehow related to British history. Further to this, Debra Brown is the editor of the recently published anthology, Castles, Customs and Kings. She is presently working on her second novel, For the Skylark

Anna Belfrage is the author of four published books, all part of The Graham Saga. Set in the 17th century, the books tell the story of Matthew Graham and his time-travelling wife, Alex Lind. Anna can be found on Twitter, Facebook and on her website.



  1. Anne's review, which I found exciting and honest, has enticed me to add Debra ' s book to my ever growing TBR list.

  2. Just my type of book from one of my favourite periods. On my TBR List now

  3. If you are going to do plot you want lots of alley ways and this book apparently has them. Yes it is one for me too. I love twists , turns and lots of stories within stories. Sounds fun.

  4. Thanks Anna, Paula, Simon, Louise, Jayne, and Carol!

  5. Like Louise, Anna's review has prompted me to add Debbie's book to my TBR list and to my Wish List on Amazon. I do have a birthday coming up in the Spring!

  6. Caroline of Brunswick and Charlotte of Wales are two royals, that I have not read a lot about. This book is one I would like to read.

  7. I love history! And I love lerning more about history through historical fiction that is packed full of historical facts about life like this one. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!