In a small village near the English/Welsh border in 1838, Somebody is after Lord Mellington’s fortune, and they’re willing to kill him for it. When their first attempt fails, he is found left for dead, and nursed back to health by a young woman – Sarah Montgomery. This book isn’t so much a murder mystery, as it is an attempted-murder mystery (although murders do occur as the story goes on). In a sense I found that this raised the tension. We knew that the killer was still out there somewhere, and would be trying again. This also allowed Sarah and Mellington to develop a romantic relationship that grows over time. The threat of murder added underlying suspense to their relationship.
As compelling as the mystery and the romantic plot are, they are almost both sub-plots to the greater story, which is the journey Sarah must take. Having helped save Mellington’s life at the beginning of the book, she finds her reputation ripped to shreds as her neighbours get completely the wrong idea and spread insidious gossip that gets her thrown out of the church and shunned by the entire village. The book carries an eye-opening warning against jumping to conclusions, and acting in self-righteousness rather then grace.
This book was written in an omniscient point of view. Personally I am not a fan of this point of view, but it was used consistently through-out the book and did actually give the story a certain charm – making it feel like a classic mystery. Clearly his was a decision made very deliberately for stylistic reasons.
The mystery aspect was handled well, keeping the reader guessing, and ending with a logical and satisfying conclusion.
A great mixture of mystery and romance with a powerful theme.