Thursday, March 18, 2021

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club, Widow’s Lace by Lelita Baldock #BookReview #Historical @BaldockLelita @maryanneyarde


You all know how excited I get when I receive book mail - which is one of the reasons why I love being a tour host for The Coffee Pot Book Club. I never know what book I am going to be invited to read next, and boy, have I read some great book recently. 

Are you ready for today's book recommendation? Of course you are. I will shut up and let the book speak for itself - you can then scroll down and read my review.

Widow’s Lace

By Lelita Baldock

A hundred year old mystery, the widow left behind, a fallen soldier, the abandoned fiancée, an unnamed body and the young student determined to find the truth.

In 1886 famous English poet Edward Barrington moves from Derbyshire, England to a farm on the Finniss River, in South Australia. Two years later he disappears.

25 years later Archie Hargraves abandons his fiancée Clara and travels from England to meet with Edward’s widow, Rosalind. He plans to write a biography and make a name for himself, independent from his wealthy father. Returning to England in 1914 he abandons his work to join the war in Europe. His journal of notes from Australia is never released.

Ellie Cannon, a young PhD candidate at Sydney University, is writing a thesis on one of Barrington’s last known poems, The Fall. It’s not going well. Struggling with her relationship with her mother and loss of her father, Ellie is on the brink of failure.

Then a body is found by the Finniss River, 130 years after Edward’s disappearance. Could it be the famous poet?

The discovery draws Ellie into the worlds of Edward, Archie and Clara, taking her across Australia and England in her search for the truth.

Covering life in remote South Australia, the social pressures of 1900s Britain and the historical role of women, Widow’s Lace is an historical fiction, mystery cross-over dealing with themes of obsession, fear, love, inner-secrets and regret. But also the hope that can come from despair.

I will admit, between agreeing to read this book and reading it, I completely forgot about the blurb and what this book was about, other than the fact that it was historical fiction. Therefore, imagine my surprise when it starts in 2018, with a woman called Ellie who is putting off doing her thesis and drinks too much alcohol! Nonetheless, I continued reading and soon I was in 1886, with the very poet that Ellie is researching. Skip ahead a couple of days (it wouldn’t have been so long, but I have a very needy child) I am in 1913, with yet another timeline that somehow fits in perfectly with the other two.

Let us go through each timeline separately. In 2018, Ellie isn’t having the greatest of times. She has no motivation to work on her thesis (haven’t we all been there?) and is miserable after the death of her father. She drinks, she smokes, she sleeps. Then, just as everything seems incredibly forlorn, a little ray of hope appears in the form of a pile of bones found at the poet’s old house. Of course, finding bones is incredibly exciting, and Ellie ends up on a mission to find out who the bones belong to and is determined to find the truth about the poet’s life. He disappeared, never to be heard of again, and Ellie wants to know why and what happened to him. At one point, she ends up in London, the first time, for she grew up in Australia. When in a new country, there is always a moment of awe as you see a new culture, a new environment, and I found it both incredibly amusing and so very true that as Ellie takes in London, she feels the need to point out the never-ending amount of pigeons.

In 1913, Archie and Clara are also not having fun. At least, they would be, but Clara desperately wants to marry Archie and Archie is never around. She is the most patient person I have ever read about, he runs off to Australia for a year and she forgives him with a kiss. No, Clara, ignore him for a year and see how he feels. Then, when he inevitably doesn’t have the patience to wait that long, hope that he understands how you feel (but he is a man, so he won’t). Archie wants to write a book about the poet, but since he is missing and presumed dead for 25 years, he visits the poet’s wife instead. And stays with her all year. Seriously, I feel so bad for Clara, even though I know why Archie is so closed off towards her (I’m not telling, read the book yourself!)

1886, the poet, Edward Barrington, is moving from England to Australia because of his wife’s health. Rosalind has consumption, and Edward sorely hopes the heat of Australia will help to rejuvenate her, to give her back her health. Edward, being a man, ends up making some very big choices in Australia, affecting both his and his wife’s entire futures, without consulting her. He likes Australia, much more than she does. In my opinion, she should be thankful she is not dead and learn to love the country, but I have never moved across the world so I can’t relate to the homesickness she has for England. 

The mystery throughout, the bones, the disappearance of Edward, is intensely gripping and, if I had such a thing as a day to myself, I might have read this in a single sitting. Nothing is fully revealed until the end, so there is the constant incentive to continue reading and I didn’t want to put this book down, as much as I loved pretending to eat the *Play_Doh food my child had made while I read. This is the kind of book that I wish I could completely forget about, purely so I could read it and experience it again.

*There are other kinds of dough out there, you can even make it yourself, but I don't have time to do things like that. Needless to say, I am not in any way biased towards Play-Doh, it is just my dough of choice because It comes in pretty yellow pots and smells lovely - not so good on the taste though.

I really cannot stress how great this book is. I was given a copy by The Coffee Pot Book Club but you can grab yours from Amazon UKAmazon US Amazon CA Amazon AUBarnes and Noble.  

Lelita Baldock

Lelita has a passion for stories, especially those with a dark undercurrent, or a twist to be revealed. 

She hopes to tell interesting stories that people will find themselves drawn into. Stories that are for entertainment and escape, and hopefully a little thrill of the unexpected. She truly enjoys the experience of writing, exploring human traits and reactions as well as the darkness that can lurk unexpectedly inside anyone.

Born and raised in Adelaide, Australia, Lelita holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and History from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Education from The University of South Australia. During her twenties she worked as an English teacher in both Australia and the United Kingdom, working with the International Baccalaureate curriculum.

Now Lelita and her husband run a web development business, and she makes time for writing after hours and on weekends. It can mean long days and late nights, but she doesn’t mind, stories are her passion.

Lelita’s long term goal as a writer is to be able to publish her stories regularly and hopefully appeal to a wide range of readers.

Lelita currently resides in the United Kingdom with her husband Ryan and beloved rescue-cat, Jasmine.

Social Media Links:

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