71. The Golden Fleece by Norah Lofts (1943)
(Originally Published as: Michael and All Angels) (1943)
Length: 238 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 10 November 2015
Finished: 12 November 2015
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 7 November 2015
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.
On a particularly chilly morning in the autumn of 1817, Will Oakley – the proprietor of a roadside inn called ‘The Fleece’ – is just beginning his day. He is a forty-four-year-old widower; the father of two fully-grown daughters – Myrtle and Harriet – who also help their father run the inn. When a coach from Ipswich arrives at ‘The Fleece’, the Oakley family and their servants have absolutely no idea how much their lives will forever be altered by meeting its passengers. A strange, motley company of individuals is discharged from the Ipswich coach and each person within that group has the potential to irrevocably change the lives of everyone who calls ‘The Fleece’ their home.
Despite his hospitable position of landlord, Will Oakley is a quiet, secretive man. He is seen by others as being slightly standoffish, but he is actually a man who is more than what he seems; a man with a past that he has kept carefully hidden. Jonathan Smail has recently arrived at ‘The Fleece’, and is delighted to have become reacquainted with his old friend, Will. He knows all about Will’s deepest, darkest secrets actually, and is quite willing to make his good friend pay…by any means necessary.
Myrtle is Will’s older daughter. She is a beautiful, generous, and bright-spirited soul – pleasant and witty, and hopelessly in love with a man she can never have. Roger Moreton is young, aristocratic and careless. He may love Myrtle, but a simple innkeeper’s daughter would never do for a marriage proposal. Roger sought a wealthy wife to pay his debts.
Harriet, Will’s younger daughter, is practical and level-headed; so different from her sister, Myrtle. She may not be as vivacious or as winsome as her sister – she is certainly no beauty – yet she is far more courageous than many people would expect.
I have to say that as surprising as it may seem, this is one of the very few novels by Norah Lofts that I haven’t read before. In my opinion, it seemed slightly different from her typical writing style, but I couldn’t quite pin down why. The story was beautifully written and well-developed, and as with the majority of Ms. Lofts’ work, she has completely captured the time period.
Personally, I had a little bit of trouble getting into the story, but once I did, I was completely swept away by Ms. Lofts – as usual. I will certainly be keeping this book to read again; but I give this book a full-fledged A+!
A+! – (96-100%)
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight