Book Tour Review: Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Title: Lady of a Thousand Treasures
Author: Sandra Byrd
Genre: historical fiction
Series: Victorian Ladies #1
Pages: 480
Published: October 9 2018
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3.5/5

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

With her keen eye for time, detail, and scenery and a talent for crafting realistic and likeable characters, reading a Sandra Byrd book has yet to disappoint me. Her historical novels are well-drawn forays into the past, using the lives of disparate people during interesting times. Her latest, Lady of a Thousand Treasures, is a slowly spooled-out historical mystery; one that also has a strong romantic plotline to complement the meticulously built series of questions that surround middle-class Miss Eleanor Sheffield and her work in antiquities.

Eleanor is a deceptively mild, self-effacing woman; outwardly demure but possessing a keen mind, self-confidence, and abundant personal drive. She's relatable without being anachronistic for the time within which she lives. Her need to protect her family is pivotal but it's also refreshing that she likes her job, she likes to work and use her brain to provide. Always, she takes time to consider, think, and decide before taking action-- a benefit to her profession but one that leads to romantic complications when her longtime love acts rashly. The circumstances that keep Harry and Eleanor apart can feel a bit contrived -- one real, substantial conversation could have cleared things up -- but the author makes their interactions shine. There's chemistry and an easy camaraderie between them. His charm and her carefulness work well together.

The story in Lady of a Thousand Treasures is an involved one, tying together antiquities theft, murder, the Italian Wars for unity, a vengeful father, debtors' prisons, and a thwarted engagement. There's a lot of plot fodder and for the most part, the story covers it all and then moves along well and quickly. Eleanor is sorely tested from a wide array of antagonistic forces but she's stalwart and resourceful from start to finish.

There is also a slight religious element to the story in Lady of a Thousand Treasures. I rarely reach for anything in that realm of fiction but with Sandra Byrd, the more religious moments aren't heavy-handed and nor do they detract from the real plot being set up. They are incidental to what is happening; faith is part of Eleanor's life but the book isn't preachy. It can be bypassed or have  the reader's attention; it is not necessary. The real focus of the novel is Eleanor and her internal decisions -- first about the collection and then about how to save Sheffield Brothers.

First in a new series, Lady of a Thousand Treasures is an auspicious beginning.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting Sandra's blog tour & for your review! We appreciate your support!

    HF Virtual Book Tours


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