Monday, October 15, 2018

Sandra Byrd: A Lady of Thousand Treasures

By Kelly Bridgewater

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry―the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust―who in her life is false or true, brass or gold―and what is meant to be treasured.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

I have read Sandra Byrd's Renaissance series with Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth and her Daughters of Hampshire series, so I was ready to dive into the first book into her new series about Victorian ladies and their treasure. A good historical novel teaches me something about history and makes me believe that I am in that time period. Byrd does a wonderful job at inviting me into the Victorian age with her words and description. Her writing hits it out of the park and allows me to feel fully engulfed into the setting.

The plot really didn't wow me. The conflict centers around missing treasure, but it seemed like an oversight to the intitial storyline. Sometimes the story read like an invertory list for  the Victorian shop. I got bored pretty easily and wanted so much more to the plotline. It didn't capture my attention.

The characters' romance between Eleanor Sheffield and Harry didn't ring true. I honestly had no idea what Eleanor saw in Harry. They were in love when she was younger, but then he cheated on her while away on a different country and took a long time to come back. I saw no enduring qualities for Harry. He tried to come off as the hero, but I had a hard time liking him at all. The romance felt wrong and forced for the story.

I did enjoy the aspect of dealing with the aging uncle. The story felt a little more full because of the love and respect shown to him as he hung around the side of the story.

Overall, A Lady of a Thousand Treasures was populated with characters that I had no sympathy for and a plot that didn't capture my imagination as much as I wanted the plot to. Byrd's writing is top-notch, and I really enjoyed her ability to bring the Victorian era back to life for me, but I struggled with the plot overall.

I received a complimentary copy of A Lady of Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

About the Author:
From Amazon

Sandra Byrd's first series of historically sound Gothic romances launched with the best-selling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor's Choice Award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, was named by the American Library Association's Booklist as one of the Top Ten Inspirational Fiction Books of the year.

Her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books of the Year Pick, as was The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr.

Victorian Ladies, a new series, offers its first title, Lady of a Thousand Treasures, in 2018. (Taken from Amazon.)

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