1871, England - Victoria Carlton has been brought up by her well-to-do uncle and aunt to make a good marriage, but she’s all too aware of her insider/outsider status as a charity case: a fact her vain and spiteful cousin Stella likes to make sure Victoria doesn’t forget. The handsome Dr. Joseph Ashton, however, sets Victoria on a new path, when he introduces her to the poor of the nearby slum tenements. Her aunt believes in doing good works and serves on the board of charitable institutions, but Victoria feels sure by actually visiting the poor, and helping them personally, she can accomplish more. It’s a hard road, and one that ends up costing her everything as her fortunes turn from bad to worse until she herself is living among the very people she set out to help.
The novel is full of historical detail and presents a compelling reminder that not all of Victorian life was top hats and tea parties. It’s actually a stark reminder of how masses of people scraped their way through appalling conditions: overcrowded, chronically malnourished, without reliable access to clean water, living with filth and disease, the lack of basic hygiene and education for children, vulnerable to crime. Victoria shines though as a testament to the human spirit, as do the examples of those who stick together or help each other out while having so little themselves.
AnneMarie Brear writes contemporary & historical novels ranging from the mid-1800s through WWI and II. You can find a complete listing of her books on her website at: