The Widow of Larkspur Inn
(The Gresham Chronicles – Book One)
By: Lawana Blackwell
Blurb: When Life Seemed Its Worst, Gresham Awaited
Julia Hollis’ opulent life in Victorian London crashes to pieces when her husband passes away. Worse, she is told by his bankers that he gambled away their fortune. Now, the family’s hope rests on The Larkspur, an old abandoned coaching inn in the quaint village of Gresham.
Driven by dread and her desire to provide for her children, Julia decides to turn the dilapidated inn into a lodging house. But can she–who was accustomed to servants attending to every need–do what needs to be done and cope when boarders begin arriving? And then an eligible new vicar moves into town..
Review: The Hollis family was wealthy, lived in a large home and had the typical servants associated with such wealth. Julia Hollis, a baronet’s daughter and the wife to Doctor Philip Hollis, lived a sheltered life where servants knew more about living than she did. Her world revolved around the social patterns of the community of wealthy people. Even her children were sheltered from the real world with a nanny, private tutors, and servants to do their bidding.
But that world was a facade for the servants despised her very presence and the nanny, insisted she be in charge of Julia’s children. They resented having a mistress, fresh out of finishing school, as the lady of the house.
Their world came to an abrupt end when the truth about her husband was revealed late one evening. Philip’s sudden and abrupt death, left his family in debt – considerable debt. Gambling had eaten away at his wealth leaving his widow, their three children and servants in a dire state. Making matters worse the bank, which had started foreclosure proceedings the prior year, repossessed their home. The family, accustomed to a privileged life, was both penniless and homeless.
One possibility was an old inn Philip owned, several days ride from their former sanctuary. The Larkspur Inn had been shut down many years prior and was in such a poor state of repair that the bank felt it was worthless . Julia had no choice. She needed a home for her children.
What was the Larkspur like? Could she manage a household without a man? How will she earn a living? How will her children react when they find out about their father’s nasty habit?
With 100 pounds, loaned to her by her former butler, Julia, her three children and her one faithful maid, Fiona, set on their way to discovery. Julia’s road to discovery was not without bumps and detours. Fiona proved to be her rock when the only life she knew was robbed from her.
Blackwell weaves a tale filled with mystery, intrigue, and humor. She paints a picture, with her words, that has the reader seeking more details with every brush stroke. The Larkspur Inn was an easy read that allowed me to let the world slip into the background as I enjoyed this story of despair, hope, and love.
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