5 out of 5 stars
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While on vacation in London with her parents in 1912, 18-year-old Bernadette Barrymore met and fell in love with Lord Anthony (Tony) Devereux. They were married two months later, despite Arabella's dislike of the American "Irish bricklayer's" daughter who married her son. Bernadette's father, James, was displeased with the marriage because he thought Tony was impoverished royalty who only wanted the money he would get from an American multimillionaire's daughter. Two years later, Tony joins the Royal Horse Artillery division of the British army to fight Germany, and Bernadette is left alone at the Devereux House with Arabella. Arabella is mean and nasty to Bernadette, so James buys her a flat in Knightsbridge, and she gets a job at Harrods to keep her busy while James plans to have her marriage annulled. What did Arabella do to Bernadette? Why does her father want the marriage annulled? Will Bernadette and Tony find happiness? Read Bernadette Barrymore by Diane Coia-Ramsay to learn more than the answers to these questions.
The character development in this book is its most outstanding positive aspect. Diane Coia-Ramsay clearly shows the characters' different personalities: James's love for his daughter, Arabella's jealousy and hatred of her daughter-in-law, Tony's aristocratic snobbish attitude, and Bernadette's strong and willful personality, to name a few. I commend the author for using characters from the Loving Leopold trilogy she had written. Although Arabella treated Bernadette horribly, I was able to empathize with her and kept wondering what she would do next. The demographics are clearly described, from the Devereux House, which was over 400 years old, to the newer mansion in Boston. The historical aspects are easy to differentiate from the fictional ones. I appreciate how the author demonstrates how harmful the British aristocrats' prejudices against Americans and the Irish were during this era.
I found nothing to dislike about the content in this well-written and suspenseful book. Having read several of Diane Coia-Ramsay's books, she is now one of my favorite authors, and I hope to read more of her books. However, the black highlights on the cover made it hard to see the hyphen in her name. This hyphen may not be necessary for casual readers, but it is for anyone citing this book.
This fascinating book deserves nothing less than 5 out of 5 stars. With only a few minor errors, I am confident that it has been professionally edited.
Mature fans of historical-romance novels are the ones I recommend this book to. There is some non-borderline profanity that sensitive readers may find offensive. There is minimal religious content consisting of church marriages and prayers that I do not think readers will find offensive, but if it does offend you, you may want to avoid this book.
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