Isabelle and Alexander

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Pub Date May 04 2021 | Archive Date May 18 2021

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London, 1850

Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father’s coal mines with Alexander Osgood’s prospering Northern country textile mills. Though not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander’s wife.

However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home farther west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.

Sensing his wife’s unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn’t bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle’s opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.

London, 1850

Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of...

Advance Praise

"Anderson’s first foray into historical romance is an atypical, yet satisfying story set in Victorian Manchester’s upper middle class. Hand this to readers looking for a book that navigates the peaks and valleys of two strangers attempting to make a life together despite the hardships life throws at them."-Library Journal

"Isabelle transitions from an unaware, leisure-class woman to a more enlightened spouse and supporter of the working class. Intimacy and romance develop between Isabelle and Alexander because of simple gestures, like a long look or a thoughtful gift, and their conversations. Their slow, stately courting is reader appropriate for any age or audience. Manchester also gets its due as a place of grit and incredible production. Descriptions of bustling mills reveal their impact on the couple’s family and its fortunes. Isabelle and Alexander is an intimate and touching romance novel that focuses on women’s lives in the business class of industrial England."-Foreword Reviews

"Isabelle must use her quiet spunk, busy mind, and compassionate spirit to woo her husband in a wholly new way. Anderson's debut is a lovely northern England Victorian romance about confronting the seemingly impossible and the power of empathy. Anderson also addresses the time period’s treatment of physical and intellectual disabilities. Most of all, she beautifully depicts love in its many forms beyond romance, such as compassion, patience, and vulnerability; and her characters illustrate the ways that these expressions of love carry us through even the darkest hours. Isabelle’s loving and persevering fervor and devotion will resonate with any caregiver’s heart."-Booklist

"Anderson’s first foray into historical romance is an atypical, yet satisfying story set in Victorian Manchester’s upper middle class. Hand this to readers looking for a book that navigates the peaks...

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ISBN 9781629728476
PRICE $15.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 256 members

Featured Reviews

In sickness.

This is not your usual historical. Its more of a first person, POV of Isabelle as she marries and then learns to cope with a husband who suffers from a debilitating injury. This is entirely from the viewpoint of Isabelle and I found myself really needing Alexander's POV.

What stood out though, was the focus on dealing with injury, both his and hers as well as a minor character's developmental disabilities. What was well captured was the lack of knowledge and understanding and expectations of dealing with permanent disabilities. Also, I liked that the books primary characters were of the business class, not aristocracy or nobility.

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This story was so intriguing on so many levels! First you have an arranged marriage, which always fascinates me. Getting to see a couple either make it together and fall in love when their beginning is rocky and unbalanced makes for a great read. I love seeing the characters learn about each other and discover how they are well matched. Second, you have an accident that leaves a character hurt. I liked seeing this aspect explored and seeing how the character's love for each other bloomed under difficult circumstances. Isabelle is the daughter from a well to do family, whose parents arrange a marriage for her to a mill owner to benefit the family and their business. Alexander is a well to do mill owner, who could really have his pick of a wife but enters into an arranged marriage with Isabelle. Together, they find their stride after a horrible accident.

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Wow! I am blown away by this book. I love everything about this book it is my new favorite! historical fiction at its best with characters & a story line that every reader will love.

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A compelling book exploring dealing with issues and events that were not chosen.
A wonderful book exploring the impact of events beyond a person’s control, both pleasant and unpleasant. And how each individual’s actions can affect everyone else as well as the situation. Isabelle’s marriage to Alexander has been arranged by her father to further his company. Alexander is handsome but has hardly spoken to Isabelle at the time of the wedding. As they approach their marriage as strangers, they struggle to not only work out the changes brought by the wedding but the struggle to get to know and become comfortable with each other. Just as progress is starting to be made a horrible accident occurs that changes most aspects of their future together. Adding unforeseen problems and challenges they will need to face. Problems that could pull them together or break them and their marriage. I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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You know I am shocked I liked this one so much. It is not my normal read. I do love arranged marriage stories but this was not at all what I expected. It is the time of England's industrial age, Think North and South because I did:} He reminded me of Thorton:} This is Isabelle's story and you get it all in her POV. There is a lot of iner-thought and dialogue but for whatever reason I really enjoyed going to this journey of love and loss with her:}

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What begins as an arranged marriage in 1850's England, Isabelle and Alexander takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride through learning to live life away from home and dealing with a horrific injury. Isabelle led a happy childhood with her closest friend and cousin, and her parents arrange for her to marry a mill owner to unite families in business. As she learns to adjust to being a wife and away from home, she experiences loneliness like never before. But just when she thinks her marriage is about to take a turn for the better, Alexander is involved in an accident that leaves him paralyzed.

Great descriptions of city life (other than London) and the workings of a cotton mill, Rebecca Anderson enthralls the reader and keeps the pages turning to find out how the couple discover that marriage is more than just a business partnership; it's a lifetime of learning to love one another during the hard times and the easy times. I highly recommend this novel!

Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the opportunity to read this novel before publication and to give feedback.

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"Isabelle and Alexander" is not your usual Victorian romance: it's not about falling in love instantly, it's not about a whirlwind courtship and endless happiness, it's not about London and the ballrooms...but it's all about learning the trust and appreciate the other, to be true to own's vow "in sickness and in health", to navigate a world one knows very little about.

Isabelle and Alexander's marriage of convenience doesn't begin so successfully: both are rather shy and do not know how to communicate. It is only after Alexander's paralysis, ensuing his fall from his horse, that Isabelle and her husband start to talk to and understand each other.

I really enjoyed the topic of disability/different ability, both physical, with Alexander's paralysis, and mental, with the family friends' daughter Glory who seemed to have Down Syndrome (even though the diagnosis might not have existed at the time, and I am only moderately familiar with this diagnosis - although I found the depiction of it quite realistic). Disability obviously existed at that time, although many people were sent to asylums because they were misunderstood by society, so I found it great that the author includes this topic, not only as a pretext for a romance but also to teach us about disability and treatment of disable people in the early Victorian era. I especially appreciated that Glory was depicted as a person with talent, likes and dislikes, emotions, feelings, and not just as a person with a different ability.

I also enjoyed learning more about what a fabric factory was like: its structure, its internal operation, its workers, and found it very interested the way the factory was bound into the storyline.

Regarding the romance, I would have enjoyed more talk, banter or confessions between Isabelle and Alexander to create a real chemistry between them, which I found a bit lacking, but the rest of the story apart from the romance was great, so I still give it 5 stars !

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4.5 stars
This was so cute! I read the description and I knew that I wanted to read it. Isabelle and Alexander was just as good as I had hoped. Isabelle and Alexander is written by Rebecca Anderson and is published by Shadow Mountain Publishing. I read Isabelle and Alexander in one day, staying up way later then I should have.
Isabelle and Alexander are married through an arranged marriage. Isabelle never expected to marry for love, but she is happy with the man her father has chosen for her. However, marriage isn’t what she expected it to be. Life in Northern England is not what she expected and her husband spends much of his time working at his textile mills. Seeing that Isabelle is unhappy, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. At the estate, Isabelle finds herself growing closer to her husband, but while riding horses together, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Isabelle is now given the task of caring for her husband, but is this Isabelle’s opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could?
I found Isabelle so strong and amazing. She was thrust into a situation that no one would ever want to be in. Although she and Alexander didn’t have a love match at the beginning, she still cared for help and wanted to be the best wife she could. She had to learn what it meant to be Alexander’s wife and the best way to help him as he was recovering. As she spent more time with him, she grew to love his mill just as he did. She learned that her husband was an honorable hard working man
Alexander was a bit of a piece of work. He did have a horrible accident, but I felt as if he could have been kinder to Isabelle. I would have loved to read from his perspective. However, I did like him and I felt as if he just didn’t quite know how to express his feelings. He did care for Isabelle; he just didn’t know how to tell her. Alexander had to figure out what it meant to love his wife, and how to live with the ramifications of his accident.
This was a wonderful book that followed the love story of a couple as they figured out how to live after a horrible accident. I was intrigued from the beginning and the characters were quite fun. I really liked Mrs. Burns and Doctor Kelley, but Doctor Fredericks and Nurse Margaret got on my nerves. I would definitely recommend this book! Isabelle and Alexander is a clean Regency romance

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

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Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson is a wonderful, heartwarming, and amazing historical fiction novel that truly shines a light on the miracles of the human spirit, love, loyalty, forgiveness, and goodness.

To set the time period: This takes place in England around 1850.

I love everything about this novel. We first see the union of two only children joined in matrimony mostly for financial purposes and common sense matching then by mutual affection and love. Isabelle and Alexander are thrust into a life together as almost total strangers. Isabelle leaves everyone and everything she knows and holds dear to move into Alexander’s home in Manchester. Here, she finds it is difficult to spend tjme and even speak with him due to his determination and need to run his business and the walls that he has placed in front of him due to his fear of inadequacy that by Isabelle coming from a family of slightly “higher means”. Both seem to be unable to connect and find one another on their own separate islands.

A riding accident that paralyzes Alexander while they are riding on his country estate literally just as Isabelle is finally cracking the tough outer shell of her husband completely sends their lives into an entirely new realm. I will leave all of the further details for the reader as I do not want to ruin the beautiful surprises placed within their stories as they weave together a way back from the physical and emotional damage that has taken place.

The dichotomy of the simplicity yet complexity of the emotions and path taken by Isabelle to help Alexander recover, overcome their obstacles, and find one another is just stunning.
The journeys they both take separately and together to get to the heartwarming, beautiful, and perfect ending kept me enthralled. I loved the plot, pacing, the complexity of the main characters, the changes and maturity that these events bring forth, and the full character cast is nothing short of perfect.

It was fascinating to also see how society (social and medical) reacted to its members that had mental and physical concerns. Not only did I love Isabelle and Alexander together, but I loved the full household staff and also The Kenworthys, Dr Kelly, and the workers at the mill added just the right amount of emotion and connection that I needed at all the right times.

The best part: the ending!

Truly an amazing read that is memorable, sweet, romantic, and a ray of sunshine that I so needed at this time.

Wonderful book. 5/5 stars

Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR, Instagram, and Bookbub accounts immediately (as of 11/5/20 no BB listing has been created) and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 5/4/21.

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