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5 Star IHIBRP Review: "Hooks & Eyes: Part I of The Ambition & Destiny Series" by V

Past, Present, And Future!

“Hooks & Eyes” is a period piece that true romance lovers will completely enjoy, filled with characters whose larger-than-life personalities range from the wicked and the scheming, to the lovelorn and sublime. From the callous and domineering Mister Wetherby, to the cool and calculated Sally Anne, McBeath arranges a chessboard of characters who each have hidden agendas and aspirations that will impact the future of everyone around them, including the oldest of men to the most innocent of young women and children. As plots and plans are unveiled and come to full fruition, the naïve and forgiving Mary—a poor widowed mother of two children who is seemingly destined to living a life of restriction and hardship—slowly succumbs and submits to everyone else’s will, even as her own life is imperiled. In this time when manners, propriety, and status rule the day, her options for upward mobility are quite limited, and when she is offered a way out of her desperate situation, she finds herself opting for the lesser of two evils.

McBeath’s “Hooks & Eyes” clearly demonstrates the struggle of women living in a time when they were set aside as arm ornaments and housewives by the male relatives who lorded over them. The fact that a woman—Queen Victoria—sat as Monarch during the period involved, had no influence on the status of a woman in the eyes of her husband, for she was allowed no right to claim or keep her own property, she was not a primary determinant on the course of her children’s lives and education, nor did she have any right at all to refuse her husband’s orders or sexual advances … allowing her absolutely no control over her own body—a concept that is unimaginable to today’s woman! Each one of these issues is expertly addressed in McBeath’s novel, where experiences such as abject poverty, widowhood, rape, and mental illness are dealt with in a tasteful and dignified manner while showing the reader why women’s equality was such an important movement in our own time.

This historical romance novel is well-researched and brilliantly told, showing the impact of Britain’s oncoming Industrial Revolution on common folk Englishmen as the efficiency and speed of the machine begins to replace man. “Hooks & Eyes” quite competently reflects the era in which it is set, featuring UK English to enhance the dialogue of its complex characters, while the narrative fluently and timelessly describes the everyday setting of the working class in 19th century Birmingham and Handsworth. For those unfamiliar with the mores of the day, the author thoughtfully guides the reader with reference guides on currency standards as well as proper etiquette and the conformities of everyday life in special sections in the opening of the novel.

While “Hooks & Eyes” is a reflection of one woman’s struggle to provide for herself and her children during a time when the entire world turned its back on her, it is also universal tribute to the enormous struggles past generations of women had to overcome in order to find a better life for themselves, their children, and their progeny. McBeath’s glorious main protagonist, Mary, is an unforgettable character who shows that—when her and her family’s survival depends on it—she is a lioness who will not hesitate to bare her teeth and claws to protect and fight for her dependents. She is a testament to all women—past, present, and future.

Find “Hooks & Eyes: Part I of The Ambition & Destiny Series” by VL McBeath on Amazon and Kindle at #HF #HR #IHIBRP #IHI Book Review Project #LF #WF #Amazon #Kindle #Goodreads #Ebooks #RRBC #wwwblog #Book Reviews #British #Irish #IndustrialRevolution #VictorianEra


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