Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Alix Rickloff's Secrets of Nanreath Hall.
Anna's parentage has never been a secret, but when her new post is to Nanreath Hall - the home where her mother once grew up - she hopes to get her adoptive parents' opinion before deciding. Graham and Prue Handley have something to tell her, but unfortunately before they can reveal what they know they're killed in a London bombing leaving Anna orphaned once again.
When she arrives at Nanreath Hall, Anna finds she has a cousin and aunt in residence. The cousin is curious but her aunt wants nothing to do with her, even offering to use her clout to get Anna a posting as far away as possible. Now Anna has to decide whether to take the opportunity she's so longed for or stay and learn more about the family she's never met.
Alix Rickloff, aka Alexa Egan, tells the story of two women and two wars: Lady Katherine Trenowyth, a fallen heiress who followed her heart in the years up to and following WWI, and her daughter, Anna, orphaned after her mother dies of cancer and working as a nurse for the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment in WWII.
Katherine, who begins our tale in 1923 already dying of cancer, was raised the daughter of an earl. Given everything she could ever dream of, she longed for the one thing she could never have: an education at an art school. And so when an artist catches her eye, even the promise of scandal can't dissuade her.
A generation and a war later, her daughter Anna has only just recovered from a terrible injury courtesy of German bombers. The "incident," as others are fond of calling it, also claimed the life of Anna's friend and left Anna unfit to be sent overseas for duty. But it's still a posting she wants desperately. And so the assignment at Nanreath Hall is something of a disappointment - and a shock considering it's her ancestral home.
At the request of her mother, Graham and Prue Handley have never kept Katherine's story from her daughter. But it's clear there are still secrets. Being the daughter of an unwed mother who fled her own family doesn't really leave much room for being welcomed into the arms of the remaining Trenowyth family, and yet with just two aunts and cousins remaining - one of whom is the current earl and seemingly ok with Anna's presence and acknowledgment -, Anna's reception is more icy than even she'd expected.
The tale unfolds through alternating chapters, giving readers glimpses into Katherine's story as well as that of her immediate family alongside Anna's own journey and eventual discovery of the truth about that generation. Bookended by two massive wars, its a tale that is of course fraught with tragedy but one that is also filled with hope.
And interestingly, the story doesn't end with Secrets of Nanreath Hall. Both timelines mention sister Cynthia and her daughter - Cynthia is the cooperative Trenowyth daughter who lives overseas as Anna's story plays out. Apparently Rickloff has plans to follow up Secrets of Nanreath Hall with Cynthia's daughter's story: "...who has departed Singapore for England under a cloud of scandal on the eve of Pearl Harbor." (According to the interview included in the back of Secrets.) It's a good thing people were so incredibly scandalized so easily during this era - it's great fodder for historical fiction writers for sure!
And now for the giveaway. I've got one copy up for grabs today - to throw your name in the hat simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, August 29. Open US only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Alix Rickloff and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.
Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble