Author: Philippa Carr
Series: Daughters of England #4 Pages: 335
Published by Open Road Media Year: 1976
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Twins Angelet and Bersaba Landor may look alike, but their personalities couldn’t be more different. Angelet is sweet, gentle, and submissive, while Bersaba is secretive, sensual, and headstrong. When the sisters are separated by forces beyond their control, Bersaba finds her life taking a dark turn. After years apart, the twins are reunited within the echoing halls of Far Flamstead. As Angelet finds herself at the mercy of the manor’s secret past, Bersaba gives in to a perilous temptation. Bersaba will risk everything —even her life— for the love of one man. Against the backdrop of seventeenth-century England, a time of bloody revolt and new beginnings, Bersaba and Angelet discover that the ties that bind them can also tear them apart.
DISCLAIMER: I purchased this book.
Dear Diary: Bersaba and Angelet Landor, twin daughters of Tamsyn and Fennimore Landor. Born June 12, 1622. On their seventeenth birthday, their mother gifts them with journals, encouraging them to continue the family tradition. She also allows them to read some of the older journals belonging to Damask and Catharine.
Date in History: Death of Charles I in 1649.
How history plays a part: King Charles’s belief in the divine right to kings put him contention with Parliament. He also tried to enforce religious reform in Scotland. His actions eventually led to civil wars, his execution for treason, and the rule of Oliver Cromwell with its strict Puritan way of life. Because of his loyalty to the monarchy, General Tolsworthy, along with Bersaba and her children, flee with Charles II to France.
The Cavalier and the Puritan
General Richard Tolsworthy is hardly in the book. The political situation keeps him from home, so his interactions with the sisters are limited. He comes from a respectable family and he’s gentleman. However, he knowingly cheats on his sweet, harmless wife with her identical twin sister. I couldn’t like him. Angelet was definitely the wrong sister for him — he needed a wife with a stronger personality. Angelet was a total innocent about the physical side of marriage — and it seems as if Richard didn’t take the time to show her there could be pleasure in lovemaking.
I liked Luke Longbridge better than Richard. Luke is a farmer, a member of Parliament, and a Puritan. His farm is near Far Flamstead, so he’s also Richard’s neighbor. Though he and the general are at odds, Luke and his sister, Ella, form friendships with Angelet and Bersaba. What makes Luke really standout for me is the fact he genuinely loves Bersaba. He marries her knowing that she’s carrying Richard’s child and is willing to accept the child as his own.
Verdict: I seriously thought about giving this book a 2-star rating. I can’t remember what I felt about the book when I read it in the 80s, thought I did manage to remember all the major plot points (Bersaba illness, Angelet going off to London, etc).
I didn’t care for the sisters at all. I hate that they just happened to have the personalities that fit their names. As if their parents knew how they’d turn out: “Bersaba” is derived from Bathsheba. Why couldn’t Angelet be the one who was sensual and secretive? I also thought Bersaba was too selfish. Her behavior is usually attributed to a rival female, or antagonist, in the author’s books.
The book felt like a “filler” — the stage is set for the exile of the Royalists and the eventual Restoration. There’s a lot more telling than showing, though — weirdly — I thought it was probably a good thing. It made for quicker reading. Months, even years, were covered in a few paragraphs. And that’s why this is a 3-star review. I was able to read it quickly without it feeling like a chore.
Start: 26 June 2013
Finished: 30 June 2013
Daughters of England