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Friday, November 22, 2013

Book review of Cry of the Peacock by V. R. Christensen.



Book review of Cry of the Peacock by V. R. Christensen.
 
From goodreads.com
"An illustrious marriage, a fortune, a position of wealth and influence. These are the dreams and ambitions of any Victorian woman of sense. Or are they? Perhaps not for Arabella Gray. The death of Abbie’s father, the overseer of a large country estate, leaves her without means or resources, without, even, a place to live. Her landlords, in an extraordinary display of charity, invite her to live at Holdaway Hall. But the invitation is as puzzling as it is generous. Why are the Crawfords, who have never paid her any notice before, so concerned with her wellbeing now?
It’s a question the younger Crawford brothers would like to have answered as well. Certainly Miss Gray is a mercenary upstart. Certainly their brother is mad for fancying himself in love with her. Such a union would make them a laughing stock. They mean to put a stop to it, but when they learn that her past is closely—even disturbingly—connected with their own, they are brought up short, forced to ask themselves some very hard questions. As Abbie herself soon learns, there is a great mystery at the heart of her landlords’ extraordinary offer. Everything she has ever dreamt of might be hers for the taking, but is the price worth it? More than her happiness alone rests upon her decision. If she refuses Ruskin Crawford’s offer of marriage, will she be able to live with the consequences? If she does, will she be able to live with herself?
In the end, all must ask themselves some very hard questions. What does it mean to be a man or woman of honor and integrity? What does it mean, after all, to be a gentleman? And what, exactly, is the price of a woman’s heart?"

Leona's Review:

I liked this book. I had just finished reading two dark books and needed something different. I have always liked the Victorian age books and this fit the bill and it was not as dark.
It begins September 1890 in London. There is the death of a child just delivered and Abbie is quite upset We are introduced a little to Abbie, her sister, Mariana, the lawyer, William Meridith, Aunt Newhaven's home and one of the Crawford brothers.
Chapter One begins with two Crawford brothers at their London club where David and James are talking about David seeing Abbie outside of Abbie's  aunt's home.
The Crawford family has plans for Abbie, Arabella, to  marry the eldest son, Ruskin. There is a secret from the past about the Crawford and Gray families. The book is based on this secret. Even some in the family are unaware, as well as Abbie, of the reasons for the intentions of the marriage to Ruskin. The parents of Abbie and Miranda are dead.
The book deals with electricity, gas, the London tube, hydraulic lifts and cable. Names such as Emile Rogers

 and the Benz engines are also mentioned (http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/s/other-forms-of-victorian-transport-and-communication/). David had an interest in these projects and Abbie also found it interesting. I have included two sites to read for those who would like to know more on the subjects. I personally like to learn when I read and I find this information very much part of the book.
The book also mentions needlework, sewing, dresses, cabs, hair styles, mourning clothing, the library of books, dark woods of the old homes, politics, workers, unwed mothers, arranged marriages and the proper conduct of the women for society. Many English words are used also (or at least I find them  so): salver, a tray for serving food is one.
There were drawings at each chapter which added to the book.
The main characters are:
Abbie, Arabella, Gray.
Miranda Gray, Abbie's sister.
Mr. William Meridith, lawyer and friend of the Gray family and the Aunt.
Sir Nicholas and Mrs. Crawford, parents of the three sons.
David, James and Ruskin Crawford.
Katherine Barnwell, whose has a presumed arranged marriage with David.
Aunt Newhaven who runs the Magdalen home for unwed women in need of care and understanding.
Hetty Summerson who is having a child and is at the home.
I liked this book but did find some typos. Kathryn in used one time for the name Katherine (Kindle page 185) and another is Becky and no 's for the word (Kindle page 247). A couple of others I also saw. It did not stop me from enjoying this book and giving it a strong 4 Star.
Read some reviews about the book on goodreads:
www.goodreads.com/book/show/17874099-cry-of-the-peacock
Site of the author, V. R Christensen. You may also sign up for her newsletter.www.vrchristensen.com
I downloaded a free book from amazon.com to get this book. The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson
www.mnleona.blogspot.com

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