I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for historical romance, Forsaking All Other by Catherine Meyrick. You can read my review below and you can read the first chapter of the book here.
About the Book
Love is no game for women; the price is far too high.
England 1585. Bess Stoughton, waiting woman to the well-connected Lady Allingbourne, has discovered that her father is arranging for her to marry an elderly neighbour. Normally obedient Bess rebels and wrests from her father a year’s grace to find a husband more to her liking.
Edmund Wyard, a taciturn and scarred veteran of England’s campaign in Ireland, is attempting to ignore the pressure from his family to find a suitable wife as he prepares to join the Earl of Leicester’s army in the Netherlands. Although Bess and Edmund are drawn to each other, they are aware that they can have nothing more than friendship. Bess knows that Edmund’s wealth and family connections place him beyond her reach. And Edmund, with his well-honed sense of duty, has never considered that he could follow his own wishes. Until now.
With England on the brink of war and fear of Catholic plots extending even into Lady Allingbourne’s household, time is running out for both of them
Format: Paperback, ebook (291 pp.) Publisher: Courante Publishing
Published: 1st April 2018 Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Find Forsaking All Other on Goodreads
I love historical fiction and the Tudor period is one of my favourite settings so I was immediately attracted to Forsaking All Other for this reason alone. I also adore the cover. However, I don’t really do ‘romance’ in historical novels, finding the romance often a little incongruous or on the sentimental side. However, in this case I needn’t have worried because Forsaking All Other is an interesting, well-researched historical novel wrapped around a believable and touching love story.
Bess Stoughton, widowed after only a few years of marriage to a man chosen by her father, is facing marriage to yet another man chosen by her father, this time someone she positively loathes. However, with no money of her own, she is in the position of many women of that time, expected to agree to a marriage that will bring financial advantage, influence or status to her family. ‘Marriage had nothing to do with personal wishes – it was for strengthening the family, making alliances, increasing wealth and power.’
Torn between her role as dutiful daughter and her desire for a husband she can both love and respect, Bess decides to take her future in her own hands so far as she is able and find a husband for herself. The household of Lady Allingbourne where Bess serves as waiting woman provides a convenient hunting ground and Bess soon finds herself the object of two men’s admiration. Both, in their different ways, offer something of what she is looking for but, when she makes her choice, the path of love does not run smooth.
Bess makes a very engaging heroine. She’s spirited, intelligent and plucky but her independent spirit sometimes results in her putting herself in risky situations. Luckily, in most cases, there is someone on hand to come to her aid. Later, she will not be so fortunate. I also have to mention Joyce, Bess’s young sister, who is a great character in her own right – wise beyond her years.
The backdrop to Bess’s story is the period of English history in which practising the Catholic faith was outlawed and ‘Papist plots’ to overthrow Queen Elizabeth were feared and ruthlessly put down. When Bess helps one of her fellow waiting women, she becomes involved in a game way more dangerous than the game of love, unwittingly putting herself in mortal danger. Bess finds out there are powerful and ruthless individuals who will stop at nothing to protect the realm or their family’s interests.
Will Bess find happiness and contentment in the end? You’ll have to read the book to find out…
I really enjoyed Forsaking All Other. I found the historical detail fascinating – the clothing, the food, the domestic routine of a Tudor household – and the story line engaging and compelling. This ‘romance phobic’ found that element of the book not soppy at all but heart-warming and believable. I hope to see more books by this author in future.
I received a review copy courtesy of the author and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in return for an honest and unbiased review. Forsaking All Other is the third book of my 20 Books of Summer.
In three words: Engaging, well-researched, romance
Try something similar…The King’s Daughter (Thornleigh #2) by Barbara Kyle (read my review here)
About the Author
Catherine Meyrick is a writer of historical fiction with a particular love of Elizabethan England. Her stories weave fictional characters into the gaps within the historical record – tales of ordinary people who are very much men and women of their time, yet in so many ways not unlike ourselves.
Although she grew up in regional Victoria, Australia, she has lived all her adult life in Melbourne. She has worked as a nurse, a tax assessor and finally a librarian. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also a family history obsessive.
Connect with Catherine