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Lady of a Thousand Treasures (The Victorian Ladies Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Sandra Byrd has published more than three dozen books, including the first book in her Tudor series, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. She lives near Seattle with her husband and two children.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
A most intriguing romance is found in the pages of Lady of a Thousand Treasures (Tyndale House, 464 pages) by Sandra Byrd. In Victorian England, Eleanor Sheffield continues the family business of appraising art and antiquities. But times are hard―her father has died, her uncle is ailing, an employee seems deceptive, and the man she thought she loved, Harry Lydney, has been in Italy far longer than expected. But Eleanor is determined to earn the trust of her clients and to repair her relationship with Harry when he finally returns from Europe. Told in first person, this standout romance is spiced with fascinating descriptions of treasures and the details of how such items are evaluated. Cameos by real historical characters add another layer of interest. Eleanor is a stalwart heroine who works through the steadily compounding tension as she wrestles with her Christian faith. Readers will root for Eleanor to overcome her difficulties and for Harry and her to find their ultimate reward in each other. (BookPage) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- File Size : 7906 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 441 pages
- Publisher : Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (October 9, 2018)
- Publication Date : October 9, 2018
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B07B7QTZYN
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Page Numbers Source ISBN : 1496426827
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #418,105 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Main character Eleanor Sheffield is an evaluator of antiques at Sheffield Brothers, a business she's trying to keep afloat after the death of her father and the onset of dementia of her uncle. She's actually the "Brothers" now with the help of one male employee, and debts are piling up right and left. Not to mention that this tale is set during Victorian times and a woman in charge of a business is not at all acceptable practice.
One of Sheffield Brothers' clients, Baron Lydley, dies and leaves the fate of his collection of treasures and antiquities to Eleanor. She must decide whether to (1) donate the collection to a museum, or (2) allow it to pass into the hands of the baron's estranged son and heir Harry. Donating the collection to the museum would put Sheffield Brothers in the spotlight and generate more business for them, but Eleanor is hesitant for a couple of reasons, one of which is her romantic history with Harry.
She and Harry were kinda/sorta promised to each other, but he left for Italy and seemed to forget about her. He is recently returned to England, but in the company of a beautiful Italian young woman and her mother. Well, that's annoying. What's up with Harry? He still kinda sorta shows interest in Eleanor but is not at all lover-like or apologetic in his behavior. And what's with the lovely Italian?
Besides this romance, there's a mystery involving valuable treasures, missing items, misplaced items, forgeries, possible thieves and what-not. Who can Eleanor trust and rely on? Harry? The Sheffield Brothers employee? Her best friend? Her uncle? Oh,who knows? Poor Eleanor. And all the while, more and more debts are accruing and she may be headed to debtors' prison.
Interspersed with the story are some interesting information dumps. About life for women in Victorian times, treasure collecting and evaluating, behind the scene at museums, prison life, how to make realistic-looking faux pearls, etc. Some things seem rather whitewashed and prettied up. For example, prison life doesn't seem to involve lice and the need for extreme personal hygiene after leaving the prison.
And the romantic attachment here is tepid at best. This is Christian fiction and I do understand that sex and references to sex are considerate inappropriate, but that really doesn't mean that a Christian author can't write interactions between a couple in which you can feel that they are attracted to each other. That can be achieved with clothes on, no touching, and no sexual innuendo. A skillful romance writer can give you feels just through tender words and the looks the lovers give each other. Instead, this couple's relationship was about as romantic as that of a brother and sister.
Even as Eleanor inventories the treasures, tracks down lost items, and puzzles over past events, she must keep her firm afloat, slowly selling the few family treasures that remain. While the debtor’s prison looms over every decision, she strives to make her place in a man’s world. Friends and mentors may not be able to save her. But perhaps someone else can.
Lady of a Thousand Treasures is a Victorian romance/mystery wrapped around snippets of history and antique collecting facts and expertise, while sprinkled among the plotlines are historical figures and insights into a lady’s place in society. Eleanor must overcome the prejudices of her time, use every bit of wit about her, and not lose herself to the poisonous lies of false friends. It’s a road fraught with peril that threatens not only herself, but her loved ones.
While Eleanor strives to live by her Christian faith and it is an integral part of the story, it is woven into the storyline so deftly and unobtrusively that it makes it that much more believable. I have a prejudice against books where religion and scripture are a jarring, disruptive, and annoying intrusion, rather than a treasured, believable part of a character’s life. The whole Christian element is done with such taste and style that I think even non-believers will find it consistent with the characters, true to the actors’ era, and not “preaching” or in-your-face offensive.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy historical, Victorian, or Regency romances, clean romance, gothic novels, mysteries, and skilled storytelling.
I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the publisher through NetGalley. My opinions are my own.
Lady of a Thousand Treasures is book one in her new series The Victorian Ladies. In this book Ms. Byrd places her heroine in quite the predicament. She is alone with a family business to run and must decide whether every piece in Baron Lydney's collection is authentic. With each piece Eleanor finds herself challenged and in more of a quandary than at the beginning.
This book is full of twists and turns that kept me guessing. Ms. Byrd's detailed description of each treasured piece evokes the reader to see the piece through their mind's eye. The romance was subtle, moved at an even pace yet very engaging.
My Bottom Line:
Lady of a Thousand Treasures is an exquisite book that is to be savored not devoured. The reader will feel as though they are viewing each beautiful treasure with Eleanor, and trying to figure out if it is real or not. The faith element is placed perfectly throughout the story teaching Eleanor to trust God not herself, and realize that she's never alone. I highly recommend it!