Posted by Literary Titan
Heirs of Deceits by Elizabeth Reinach is a historical fiction story set in Victorian England. Sir Gilbert Stanley is a wealthy landowner and member of parliament who has left behind a string of abandoned women and illegitimate children. When the mothers died, the children were sent to live at a workhouse or fostered out to another family. Years later, Sir Gilbert does not acknowledge them as his children but takes them in to his household to work as servants at his country estate, Stanley Court. When his illegitimate son, Henry is murdered, will Sir Gilbert be able to discover who killed him? And what will become of his other children when the scandal of their illegitimacy is revealed?
This story had a unique structure that spanned a number of years, following several children from early childhood in to young adulthood. I liked how the author showed insight into the various trials faced by the characters. It was an interesting contrast to see the difference between the hardships in the lives of Sir Gilbert’s illegitimate children living in a workhouse compared to Lady Anne, who was raised in an aristocratic household. I enjoyed the elements of mystery in this story, reading all the different clues during the murder investigation and trying to put the pieces together to figure out the identity of the killer. I liked that the author included an epilogue showing how the lives of the characters turned out.
The story was divided into several parts and in the first part, where each chapter was focused on a different child’s early life experiences. In Part Two the story lines of the different children start to merge together. When the same events were told from more than one character’s perspective, the facts were not always consistent as is often the case when multiple people are retelling a story, everyone remembers things a little different. This adds a layer of realism to the story with the retelling from multiple perspectives.
Heirs of Deceits by Elizabeth Reinach is a wonderful period piece that highlights a common issue of the time when men often had illegitimate children but no one ever wanted to speak of them. While a work of fiction this book give a voice to those deemed illegitimate. With scandal and a riveting murder mystery this novel will entertain a diverse set of readers.
Pages: 244 | ASIN: B07T239B3B
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