I have always enjoyed fellow Books We Love author A.M. Westerling's books. Her latest, Sophie's Choice, a Regency romance, is the first title in her Ladies of Harrington House series. The other ladies are Sophie's sisters, Leah and Catherine. I look forward to reading their stories.
What first appealed to me about Sophie’s Choice was that it is set in Cornwall, one of my favourite English counties. I have fond memories of summers spent there as a child and later touring for my own satisfaction from the heights of Rough Tor on Bodmin Moor to the tip of Land’s End and all the neat little fishing villages up and down the coast.
The story involves smugglers and smuggling, for which Cornwall was notorious but I’ll leave you to discover that on your own. I really enjoy Westerling’s style, this snippet is about her heroine, Sophie:
The gravel pricked against the soles of her feet, delightful in its intensity and for the first time in weeks she felt alive, well and truly alive.
Haven’t we all done something like that at one time or another? And what about this for a description of a hero?
He was handsome, to say the least – tall, dark and lean with a rapacious air about him as if he would pounce on his prey at any moment.
That ‘rapacious air’ gave me the chills in the best kind of way and I was immediately drawn to Lord Bryce Langdon.
Along the way to their happy-ever-after ending, it’s a romance so of course there is one, Sophie squabbles with her sisters in a very memorable and realistic way. Think Lady Mary and her sister Lady Edith in Downton Abbey, or any of the March sisters in Little Women. Here are Sophie and Leah:
Leah, suitably chastened, slumped down against the squabs but not without a final dig at Sophie. “Oh, what a handsome groom Weston would make, he of the red spotted face and rat’s teeth.”
And this is what Sophie feels about her sisters:
Sophie gritted her teeth. Leah’s forward ways grated, however Catherine’s blameless demeanour wore thin as well.
There is depth of feeling in the portrayal of the Harringtons and they come over as a well-rounded family in an era when that wasn’t always the case.
The story evolves at a steady pace with quite a few unexpected twists and turns. If you are looking for an enjoyable weekend read, look no further. I fully recommend it.