Vanguards of Hope: Sapphire Brigade Book 1
by Kathy Steinemann
Amazon Historical Romance/ Mystery
Amazon UK Length: 288 pages
Amazon CA eBook format
B&N Indie Published
This is the first in a series of novels about the Sapphire Brigade. The story occurs in the late 19th century, a time when chauvinism and racial prejudice were an accepted part of life.
Set against a backdrop of mystery, murder, and romance, it is the struggle of a woman who copes as well as she can with secrets and personal demons.
Natalie Gibson's Review:
Written in journal format, Vanguard of Hope details the later years of Hope. It was written well but writing in first person is hard enough without throwing journal in the mix. The author is not only restricted to the thoughts and feelings of one person but the limitations of how that person would make entries into a diary. I liked that it felt secretive, that we were reading something no one else had read.
It started with a intro by a distant niece of Hope which confused me a bit and I had to go back when I was about half way through to see who this girl was. I was looking for a Victorian romance when I picked this book from our submissions list. It started out as just what I was looking for but quickly it was obvious that Hope was not the normal Victorian lady. She read much more modern. Maybe that was because we weren't just seeing her facade but seeing her innermost thoughts and desires. It was also because she had sex outside of marriage, an affair with a black servant, and went around unchaperoned.
Hope was a well rounded well formed character but the format of the book didn't allow any of the other characters to be properly depicted. Also, it did not have the description of setting and attire that I love in Victorian novels. It isn't a bad or good thing - just how the journal writing worked. The sex is glossed over but the book deals with child abuse, child rape, infidelity, ect.
I give it 3 satin pillows and 2 candle flames.
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