LADY OF A THOUSAND TREASURES
Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father's passing and her uncle's decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.
The death of longtime client Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron's legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron's only living son, Harry -- the man who broke Eleanor's heart.
Eleanor distrusts the baron's motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry's future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope of a future with Harry dims.
With the threat of debtor's prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron's collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressure mounts and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust -- who in her life is false or true, brass or gold -- and what is meant to be treasured.
"Sometimes starting anew is the best way to move forward. Even if it seems like you've lost."
Wow -- I'm gobsmacked! Don't even know where to begin. There's just so many layers to this story and it's so cleverly laid out. Subtle subtext that say one thing but mask a deeper meaning if one has a care to listen carefully. And Miss Eleanor Sheffield is an expert at delivering such charming conversation. There's this incredible scene at a house party over board games (yes -- board games -- who knew the Victorians even had those?! Oh, but they did -- and very moral and upright they were too!) Anyway, that whole scene is so cunning -- I read it twice to make sure I got every delicious nuance.
I love Sandra Byrd's writing style -- the way her words flow around in my head and lure me deeper into the story. So beautiful that I was tempted to read out loud but I couldn't bear to slow the pace despite wanting to savor it all. A lovely reader conundrum for sure!
Lady of a Thousand Treasures reads like a period classic -- a bit Gothic (which I love) along with a web of treachery and deceit set the stage for an engrossing read. And the historical details! Fascinating and enlightening and some aspects are so unusual. Like the popularity of collecting antiquities and the thrill of treasure seeking.
Eleanor is at the center of it all -- a woman trained in a man's profession facing prejudice because of her gender. Not to mention the moral dilemma she faces -- in essence having to determine whether her former suitor is worthy of keeping his father's legendary collection. And then there's her uncle's failing health and the perilous state of the family business. Not to mention a broken heart and the foolish hope that her love isn't completely lost after all. Shivers of delightful torment shoot up my spine at all the sweet memories. I'll definitely require a mourning period before I move on to my next read.
Sandra Byrd is a master wordsmith and she's outdone herself in the first book of her Victorian Ladies series.
"I had learned that every circumstance in life doesn't have to end happily for the Lord to provide a happy ending."
If you would like a chance to win a copy of Lady of a Thousand Treasures, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add an email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and .in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Saturday February 2 2019. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!