Fleeing her controlling brother's plans for her life, Annabelle Thorley imposes on the kindness of a stranger, Owen Locke, to escort her to her estranged uncle in Surrey, with whom she takes refuge. For the first time in her life Annabelle has to work for a living, and it is a rude awakening. With a small daughter at the school, Owen finds himself spending more and more time with the woman he rescued, and with a shot at purchasing neighboring land, he finally feels reason to hope. But the peace they've found is tenuous--there are poachers in the woods, strange doings at the school, and Annabelle's brother and his cronies could descend at any minute to shatter their hopes for the future.
The story was over really quickly, and I'm still trying to decide if I'd have liked it drawn out and developed more (as there were things I would have enjoyed expansion on), or if the fast-paced plot makes it more appealing. Even by the end, I'm not sure that Annabelle is actually prepared for her life in reduced circumstances, and that is the biggest thing that should have been more strongly addressed.
I enjoyed Owen's position as a gamekeeper--it's something new and different. Annabelle and her maid's relationship went in a different direction than I was expecting, which kept things interesting as well. I wouldn't have minded a little more time with her uncle--he is a different fellow, and some of the things he lets slip about his sister (Annabelle's mother) and his tough love practices are quite interesting.
It wasn't a story that held me riveted at all times, but neither did I feel like I had to work to get through it. It's pretty fast-paced.
Thank you Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free e-book. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.
Treasures of Surrey