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  • Hannah Fielding - Romance Novelist

From the blurb:

When Lucy’s secret is unearthed, her world begins to crumble. But it may be the best thing that has ever happened to her.

Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious measures to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt, and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.

In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother Helen hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else.

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom, as Helen confronts the ghosts of her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines, who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of change.

Now Lucy must go back into her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that’s been waiting for her all along.

Disclaimer: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Along with the creative and appealing cover, four aspects of this book made me request it for review: ‘Brontë’, ‘rare books’, ‘antiques’ and ‘England’.

Brontë: My favourite writers in English literature; especially Charlotte. I just can’t resist a book that explores the Brontë heroines and settings!

Rare books: Fascinating! Lucy surely has most bibliophiles’ dream job.

Antiques: I adore antiques, especially hunting for them.

England: Not my native land, but the one I have adopted as my home after marrying an Englishman, and I love to read depictions of this setting from an outside perspective.

The synopsis of the book gives away much of the plot; this isn’t a story of mysterious twists and turns and shocking revelations. Instead, it’s a story I found to be surprisingly poignant.

The author is brave, I think, to cast in the role of heroine a girl whose moral compass has gone awry. We can’t always like Lucy for the choices she makes early on, but as the story unfolds it is impossible not to feel compassion for her predicament, and then admiration for her gutsy approach to disentangling herself from fiction of her own making.

I liked the love story between Lucy and James, which felt very realistic – although I’d have enjoyed some more focus on that, I think. But it was the relationship between Lucy and Helen that most stood out for me. I found the character of Helen intriguing, and I understood her desire to go back in time in order to find the release and forgiveness to move forwards; but I also understood how this was painful and hard to comprehend for her family.

The setting is vivid in the book, and I enjoyed the interweaving of locations – especially a visit to Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, and Bowness on Windermere in the Lake District. I loved the many literary references as well, from the magical innocence of Beatrix Potter’s books through to the twisting and tempestuous emotion of Wuthering Heights. Given the title, I expected a little more connection to the Brontë sisters’ plots, but I really enjoyed how the author draws upon these older works in her own.

Most of all, I enjoyed the professional side of the story: Lucy’s work for her boss, a top-notch interior designer. I found the descriptions of antiques and room designs really interesting; I think many readers will find themselves inspired and intrigued.

Overall, this is book is like the rare books Lucy sells: something to read slowly, at leisure, and with a good deal of thought, and then place on the ‘keep’ shelf.

The Brontë Plot is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.

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