Bride of a Distant Isle
by Sandra Byrd
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Pub Date 22 Mar 2016 | Archive Date 11 Aug 2023
Miss Annabel Ashton is a teacher at the Rogers School for Young Ladies in Winchester when she takes a brief visit to her family home, Highcliffe Hall at Milford-on-Sea. She believes her stay will be short but soon learns that she will not be returning to the safety of the school. Instead, she remains at Highcliffe, at the mercy of her cousin, Edward Everedge.
Annabel protests, but as the illegitimate daughter of a woman who died in an insane asylum, she has little say. Edward is running out of money and puts the house up for sale to avoid financial ruin. He insists that Annabel marry, promising her to a sinister, frightening man. But as the house gets packed for sale, it begins to reveal disquieting secrets. Jewelry, artifacts, and portraits mysteriously appear, suggesting that Annabel may be the true heir of Highcliffe.
She has only a few months to prove her legitimacy, perhaps with assistance from the handsome but troubled Maltese Captain Dell’Acqua. But does he have Annabel’s best interests at heart?
And then, a final, most ominous barrier to both her inheritance and her existence appears: a situation neither she nor anyone else could have expected. Will Annabel regain her life and property—and trust her heart—before it’s too late?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 34 members
After reading 'Mist of Midnight' I was excited to see what Sandra had next, & 'Bride of a Distant Isle' did not disappoint. Thoroughly researched and written bringing a variety of historical true events into her fiction, not only do you feel like you're getting a glimpse into Victorian society, but also the harsh realities of the era. I loved the characters visits to the Great Exhibition, the discussions on trade & smuggling. How the desperate need to ensure the security of children, and future generations could lead to something as desperate as slander, murder or institutionalizing family members to get them out the way, to snag the inheritance is sickening, but likely very real to the time. I loved Marco's character - though felt very frustrated with his aloofness and apparent abandonment when Annabel was in her greatest need... Though all does get explained in the end. I loved the foreign angle with Malta, and the Maltese & Italian language spoken between the heroes was beautiful! I had hoped there would be some connection to the first book in this series, but it seems they are stand alone reads, with the only common factor being the location of the county & dates. Four stars instead of five, only because the pace was a little slow for me in the beginning. Fabulous story, fully recommend!
I received this book from Netgalley & Howard Books in return for my honest review.