Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Divided Inheritance by Deborah Swift

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Read: October 29, 2013

A family divided by fortune. A country divided by faith. London 1609... Elspet Leviston’s greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel’s lace business. But her dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin Zachary Deane – who has his own designs on Leviston’s Lace. Zachary is a dedicated swordsman with a secret past that seems to invite trouble. So Nathaniel sends him on a Grand Tour, away from the distractions of Jacobean London. Elspet believes herself to be free of her hot-headed relative but when Nathaniel dies her fortunes change dramatically. She is forced to leave her beloved home and go in search of Zachary - determined to claim back from him the inheritance that is rightfully hers. Under the searing Spanish sun, Elspet and Zachary become locked in a battle of wills. But these are dangerous times and they are soon embroiled in the roar and sweep of something far more threatening, sending them both on an unexpected journey of discovery which finally unlocks the true meaning of family... A Divided Inheritance is a breathtaking adventure set in London just after the Gunpowder Plot and in the bustling courtyards of Golden Age Seville.

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At first, I wasn't sure what to make of Deborah Swift's A Divided Inheritance. She'd come highly recommended, but a hundred pages in I couldn't help wondering when I was going to be swept off my feet. It took a while, but somewhere around the midpoint I began to really appreciate this story and by the end, was lost in the world she'd created within these pages.

Despite the straightforward jacket description, A Divided Inheritance is a multilayered and elaborate fiction that touches on a wide variety of complex concepts and intrigue. The massive scope is mind-boggling, but when all is said and done, I think Swift does an impeccable job pulling the various elements of the narrative together.

Historically speaking, I was fascinated with the story of Moriscos in Spain and how it contrasted with that of the Catholics in England. As a reader, I really admired Swift's unprejudiced and gentle handling of the material, how she was able to tackle something as personal as religion without overwhelming her audience with spirituality and ritual. 

I was similarly drawn to the detailed descriptions of swordplay. The fight scenes are not overdone, yet still illustrate the many nuances of the craft. From the stance a fighter must retain to the advantage gained by a particular style of blade, Swift was able to convey a real understanding of vocation and what it took to master the art of fencing. 

I don't mean to downplay Swift's characters, their turbulent emotions and convoluted relationships make excellent reading material, but it was the detailed descriptions - the bustle of London's merchant class and the competitive rivalries that burned with such ferocity in the streets of Seville - that I will remember when I look back on this piece.

Elegantly written, A Divided Inheritance brings the uncertainty of the seventeenth gloriously to life in an engaging tale of determination, tenacity and family loyalty.

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Hugh continued, not noticing her discomfort, ‘if I were your father, I would have done exactly the same. It is a man’s place to take these responsibilities, not a woman’s. Your cousin and I will get along fine, you’ll see."
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Check out all the stops on Deborah Swift's A Divided Inheritance Virtual book tour

Wednesday, October 23
Review at Unabridged Chick
Thursday, October 24
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Friday, October 25
Review at Luxury Reading
Monday, October 28
Review at Historical Tapestry and The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Tuesday, October 29
Review & Guest Post at A Bookish Libraria
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, October 30
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, October 31
Review at The Most Happy Reader
Friday, November 1
Interview at Layered Pages
Monday, November 4
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Tuesday, November 5
Guest Post at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Wednesday, November 6
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, November 7
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, November 8
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, November 11
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Tuesday, November 12
Review at Reading the Past
Wednesday, November 13
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, November 14
Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader
Friday, November 15
Review at Book of Secrets
Monday, November 18
Review at HF Book Muse-News
Tuesday, November 19
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Guest Post at HF Book Muse-News
Wednesday, November 20
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, November 21
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Friday, November 22
Review at The True Book Addict
Monday, November 25
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, November 26
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, November 27
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

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