Feature book: A World Apart
Eliza Downing was born a peasant and orphaned at birth. Her mother had a secret that went to the grave with her and Eliza was brought up by her aunt and uncle in the small village of Marley Dorset. Eliza was always a very bright child and learnt to read and write and was also very good with numbers. She was also a very beautiful child and a lot of the locals called her an angel. But being born to the peasant life meant that she would become a maid or work in the dairy as her mother had. That is, until she was brought into the schoolroom of the Viscount de Havilland’s children to help them with their studies and this started a lifelong love.
Harry is the future Viscount de Havilland. He has an older sister Louisa and his mother died giving birth to him. Their father is not a loving, caring man as he is more concerned in running the estate and ensuring Harry will make a good viscount. When the Viscount learns about the bright child Eliza who lives on the estate, he arranges for her to join the schoolroom with his children. Eliza and Harry become fast friends, but Louisa is not so keen on the peasant child who is learning with them.
As Harry and Eliza become closer over the years, they share a very special bond that gets stronger as they get older. They are both keen learners and spend a lot of time together. At the tender ages of 16 and 14 they make a promise that they will marry when they are older and there will never be anyone else for either of them.
When the Viscount learns about how close Eliza and Harry are getting, he sends Harry away to school, separating them. There is no way his son will marry a peasant girl and the estate is suffering through some bad decisions the Viscount has made. Eliza starts teaching at the village school and although they do not see each other, the bond and love is still there. Eliza is falsely accused of a crime and shipped to New South Wales, Australia for years. The voyage is a hard one and when they are caught in a severe storm, the ship is wrecked. Eliza and the only friend she has are washed up on shore. Through determination, they make new lives for themselves and Eliza marries but is widowed the same day when a secret is revealed. Harry is also having a hard time back in England with his overbearing father.
This is a very good story. I have always enjoyed stories set around the convicts here in Australia. This story shows that true love will always win, even though the hero and heroine have been separated for many years and the hardships that they go through to find each other. The setting and descriptions are very good and I loved the strength that Eliza showed through what she went through. I recommend this story if you are looking for something a little different. I did enjoy this one.
Reviewed by Helen S
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.