I am delighted to be a part of the blog tour for; The Widow’s Last Secret by Lora Davies. I am excited to be sharing my review of this book with you all. Firstly, thank you to Jess at Bookouture for the invite to this tour.
about the book
The Widow’s Last Secret by Lora Davies.
Genre: Historical Fiction
There was no one to protect her now. And if her secret ever became known, she risked losing everything. With one final look around the bare little room, she lifted her bundle, squared her shoulders and walked out of her old life forever.
England, 1846: Bella Farrow is a beautiful young widow, making a good living on her own land since her short but happy marriage.
But no one knows the truth about Bella. Just six years before, she’d become a fugitive from the law after desperation drove her to a terrible decision. And this could still see her imprisoned – or worse – if found out.
Her husband had never known the truth about her, and she wants to make sure that no one else does. All she wants is to live in peace.
But her quiet corner of the countryside is changing. And when an ambitious young railway engineer named James Earlham arrives in the village, she can’t help her growing attraction to him. She wants to be honest with him, but the past she’s worked so hard to keep hidden needs to stay that way forever.
But when she discovers James’s history, Bella realises that the man she has allowed herself to trust – who knows her secret and who holds her future in his hands – has a connection to her own secret past.
Now she has another decision to make: walk away and keep herself safe, or risk everything to confront James, and finally free her heart from the burden it carries.
A page-turning novel about secrets, betrayal and the impossibility of hiding from your past, The Widow’s Last Secret is a must-read for fans of Kerry Barrett, Kate Morton and Tracy Rees.
The Widow’s Last Secret is a thought-provoking and compelling story full of secrets and heartbreak, there is the barest hint of romance and a fair few twists along the way which will keep you turning the pages.
Despite this story being told through both Bell’a and James’s perspectives, Bella does (and did) what she must to survive if that means stealing to put food on the table and a roof over her head then so-be-it. I really felt for Bella she is a genuine and realistic character. After she fled her past, she met a decent man who in a relatively short time she was happy, she had grievances with the village as an outsider she was never accepted and most thought she had only married her husband for his money. Bella has had it tough, she has faced some real drama but thoughts that with her husband by her side she would finally find happiness and be able to put her past behind her
I have to be honest and say I didn’t take to James, yes he was charming and likeable in a way but there was something quite worrying and I would even go as far as saying he carried a menacing air about him. I’m probably alone in saying it but I just could find myself liking him, and this is despite his character holding a large part of the book, I just couldn’t lower the bridge and like him. As my gran used to say; his eye is too close together to trust, and that is what I felt about James, I had hoped he would change my mind but alas he didn’t.
When her husband dies and leaves her (his only heir) his land, ma
king her a rarity a female landowner which during the 1800’s it was very rarely heard of, she thinks she is safe until a railroad engineer sets eyes on her land for the railroad, he wants her land and will do anything to get what he wants, no matter how much she opposes him.
Again I am struck by how amazing Bella is, she has a strength you rarely see, she is living in constant fear that she will be found out and that her past will come back to destroy the life she has and now she is living in fear that he land will be taken. She is a determined, resilient and relatable woman she will do anything thing in her power to protect herself and what is hers and you can’t help but back her all the way.
I am really pleased with the ending, without giving anything away it’s satisfying it suits Bell and her story perfect and has a feeling of repairing and hope, it’s not what I expected but it was satisfying, I was hoping that Bella would have her just deserved happy ending and despite it being not exactly the stereotypical happy ending it was relevant and suited the characters perfectly. I also believe with how we said goodbye to Bella there is potential for a sequel, I would love to revisit these characters.
Lora Davies is new to me author so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came into this book, I loved her attention to detail and her knowledge of the time and the subject, it’s obvious Davies has done a huge amount of research and it clearly shows in her writing. I love that it doesn’t sugar-coat matters it tells it how life was during the 1800s, it’s gritty and incredibly real and that makes it a real winner for me.
This is a must-read, in essence, it’s a simple story of those with money wanting to take from those who haven’t, of a woman trying to live without fear and doing as she can to hide her traumatic and secretive past, but it is delivered in a compelling and engaging way which will keep you reading.
About the author
For as long as I can remember, I have been happiest with a book in my hands. From hiding under the covers with a torch as a small child so that I could stay up reading, to studying English at university so that I could get my hands on even more books – I guess it was only a matter of time before I went from reading books to writing them. It wasn’t a straightforward path; my passion for gripping plots and rounded characters led me first to work as an actor and theatre director, but after a Creative Writing course at my local bookshop, I was hooked. After completing a Masters at Royal Holloway, University of London, I finished my first novel, Daughter of the Shipwreck. I live in Brighton where I get inspiration from the incredibly rich history of the city and the inspiring and beautiful natural environment.
Author Links: Twitter: @DaviesLora / Website: https://www.loradavies.com/