Book Review: The Bowes Inheritance (Victorian Historical Fiction)

A fast-paced read with a bit of everything to hit the sweet spot between romance, historical fiction, and mystery. 

Title: The Bowes Inheritance51ABf7QRq4L
Author: Pam Lecky
Genre: historical fiction
Setting: Victorian (1882), Dublin and England
Formats: kindle and paperback

The Plot

Victorian Romance with a Dash of Rebellion. Determined but impoverished Louisa Campbell inherits a large estate in the north of England. Louisa and her younger sister Eleanor, who is gravely ill, take up residence at Bowes Farm. However, they soon realise that all they have inherited is trouble. Their uncle was suspected of being a Fenian activist and his ill-repute leaves Louisa and Eleanor battling to gain acceptance in polite society, especially with Nicholas Maxwell, their handsome neighbour and local magistrate. When a Fenian bombing campaign comes close to home, Louisa finds herself a chief suspect and must fight to clear her name and solve the mysteries of Bowes Farm before their lives are destroyed. And most importantly of all, will she be able to finally trust and love the man who is surely her sorn enemy?

What’s Hot

This book has the right mix of drama, intrigue, romance, and historical reference. This rags-to-riches story with romance and suspense takes place on the Cumberland coast so there is atmospheric drama. I thoroughly appreciated the political backdrop and the fact that this book dealt with issues much bigger than “boy meets girl”. She handles mystery, politics, romance, violence, death, and intrigue with a deft hand, and the narrative is smooth and fast-paced.

I love how Pam writes in a way that’s really visual and the book reads a lot like a screenplay that keeps you turning the page for more. Our female protagonist Louisa is strong and independent within her context, so her character isn’t anachronistic. I particularly enjoyed the nuanced depiction of minor female characters –the chronically ill Eleanor and the spinster teacher Clara Whitby.

What’s Not

My only issue was with the male protagonist and the development of the relationship between the male and female protagonist – I thought him to be rather mean spirited; and the trajectory of their relationship wasn’t very believable at points. However, the dialogue between them sparkled with wit and sexual tension.

Final Verdict

Definitely put this in your “to-read” list.

Buy The Bowes Inheritance here (US) or here (UK) or here (AU)

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About the Author

Pam Lecky is an Irish writer of historical fiction with a particular love of the late Victorian era. Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize 2016; made ‘Editor’s Choice’ by the Historical Novel Society; long-listed for the Historical Novel Society 2016 Indie Award; and chosen as a Discovered Diamond in February 2017.

She has published two short stories – In Three-Quarter Time (WWI romance) and The Lighthouse Keeper (ghost story).

Check out Pam’s blog here.

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