Christmas Awards 2011

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Valerie


VALERIE

By
JOAN SMITH

Published by

ROBERT HALE
ISBN 978-0-7090-7922-4



When Valerie’s Aunt Loo, short for Louise, asked her to go home with her for a month’s visit to her estate, Troy Fenners, In Hampshire, she was delighted. Valerie’s mother was not too happy with the invitation but gave in when her husband suggested that his sister Louise was perhaps lonely in that great barn of a house on her own.
Valerie at the age of twenty-two had had several suitors but mostly they were much shorter than she was, as she stood a fine five foot ten inches and she bulked at trying to look shorter to blend with her escorts. She longed for a suitor who was at least six feet tall, although there was no hope of meeting one at her Aunts home but it would be wonderful to escape for a time, from her family.
When Valerie arrived at Troy Fenners her Aunt amazed her by telling her that she was a writer and in her new novel the heroine had certain tasks to perform, and Aunt Loo had decided Valerie would be the very person to try out the tasks. She was sure that Valerie would make a splendid Gloria, the heroine of her novel.
Also staying with her Aunt as a permanent guest was Pierre St Clair her late husband’s cousin, who was smuggled out of France as an infant, during the reign of Terror, he was raised on a farm in Normandy and educated at a seminary but now lived in England. His broken English would be a source of amusement to Valerie during her stay but his amorous advances were not amusing.
There were many things going on at Troy Fenners, which Valerie was beginning to wonder at. Was her Aunt being blackmailed? Money was obviously short, but she had thought her Aunt wealthy. Overhearing a conversation between Pierre and her Aunt she thought that Pierre was perhaps blackmailing her Aunt, but why?
Strange things were happening here and Valerie intended to get to the bottom of it all, was it anything to do with the couple who were invited to hold séances in the feather room or did it involve the mysterious Mr Sinclair, another cousin who wore green spectacles to hide his expressive eyes or his identity and lately had moved into the gate house on her Aunt’s estate.
Valerie was really enjoying herself, would she solve the mysteries and help her Aunt regain her money, or was there more danger than she realised? Would she be able to carry out the tasks her Aunt had set for Gloria and keep herself safe? Why were these strange cousins using her Aunt? And who were the strange couple that her Aunt set such store by and involved her in the séances which seemed to really scare her, what was her Aunt searching for? So many questions but the answers are all in this book, read and enjoy this unusual book set in Regency times. I award this book 4 red roses, AS.

1 comment:

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