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Peggy Farooqi
Mum of 3 (1994, 1995, 1998)- born in East Germany --lived in UK/ Kent since 1993 -- studied criminology -- love reading / writing / travelling / needlecraft 
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22 June 2014


Title
The House of Kingsley Merrick
Author
Deborah Hill
Publisher
North Road Publishing Corporation (2nd Ed)
Publication Date
16 July 2013
Pages
325
Genre
Historical Romance


Blurb:  



As a boy, Kingsley Merrick is taunted by his social betters at the Academy. As a young man, he is ostracized by the establishment of Waterford, seeking retribution for the humiliations he has endured. Part of his plan includes marriage to his cousin.
Julia Merrick is imprisoned by her middle-class upbringing, and looks to Brahmin Boston for relief. Gradually insinuating herself into Beacon Hill society, her dream founders on the shoals of snobbery, and her virgin purity is besmirched by an alluring scion of wealth -- just as her family is threatened with financial ruin in the panic of 1857. Julia can save them all by marrying Kingsley, on his way home from Australia, but at what a price! There will be no escape from what she now knows about men, and she also knows the marital relation will break her spirit.
As indeed it does, until she brings her husband to heel with a scheme that will free her to create an elite, Brahmin-like society right there in Waterford and at the same time keep him out of her bedroom.
And so it is that Kingsley Merrick turns to Angelina Bradley....




My review

This is book 2 in the Kingsland Series - My review of Book 1 This is the House is here. 

I read book 2 straight after book 1, so the books in this series quickly became a family saga to me and it was great to continue the book and the family story. However, in my opinion, book 2 can be read completely independently. It is stand-alone and while people from book 1 are being referred to, it doesn't build on the stories discussed in book 1. 

Molly is already deceased at the beginning of book 2 (and I did miss her, there is no reference to her at all other than her portrait which still hangs in the house) and Elijah is a grandfather in his final years. 

The story continues with 2 of Molly and Elijah's grandchildren - their son 'Lije's daughter Julia and and their son Sonny's illegitimate son Kingsley.  Julia grows up with her family in Boston in  middle-class surroundings, but gets to know the upper class and strives to reach the comforts of a rich husband. That doesn't go to plan and she quickly finds out that it is not that easy to escape her middle class roots when she gets dumped by a potential richer suitor who was obviously taken by her, but his family could never agree to this match. On the other hand, Kingsley had always been looked down by 'Lije and his family - his father being an alcoholic and him being illegitimate. But he is clever and he makes his fortune in Australia and is a rich man when he returns. 'Lije and his family are now on the brink of financial ruin, and welcome Kingsley very much and urge Julia to win him as a potential suitor. Well, it works and Kingsley and Julia do marry. But Julia is not a happy woman after an unpleasant experience with a rich lothario from her Boston days and she cannot stand the physical side of the relationship with her husband. 2 girls are born to the marriage, Caroline and August.  But than Kingsley is thrown into the arms of Angelina Bradley, the wife of his archenemy who gives him everything he misses in the relationship with his wife.

The story than continues with Augusta who grows up and now comes into marriageable age. And she has to make a decision: Rescue her family from financial ruin and marry a rich man who will look after her and all her family or go with her heart and marry the poor farmer who happens to be the son of Angelina Bradley. Is there a middle way or will Augusta have to make the ultimate sacrifice? I felt quite emotional when I realised the choice Augusta will have to make.

I absolutely adored Augusta. She is down to earth but still understands her obligations to her family. Not easy, but more understandable when looking at the historical period. As we all know since Jane Austen, a good marriage was the biggest aim for girls and not just a choice effecting their own happiness, but the whole family. 

The book covers a period in New England / Boston from 1838 to 1872 and while historic events are explained at the beginning of some chapters and have been researched well, they are certainly not the main part of this book and only serve as a back-drop. I did find myself skipping some parts of it and I did not make a difference to my understanding of the story. 

Received from the author in return for an honest review.