Bellewether is such a lush historical romance! It tells the story of two women separated by time: first is Lydia Wilde in 1759, whose father is forced to take two French officers into their home as a form of house arrest. Lydia finds herself attracted to one of them, a French-Canadian lieutenant Jean-Philippe de Sabran, who is equally drawn to her. Flash forward to present day and museum curator Charley Van Hoek is in charge of Wilde House Museum, dedicated to preserving and sharing the legacy of one of Lydia’s brothers, who had become a famous privateer. Charley learns the local legend that the House has a ghost, reportedly that of Jean-Philippe who was killed by Lydia’s brother when they tried to elope. According to the same legend, Lydia then drowned herself of heartbreak. I love how these two stories run concurrently and eventually converge as we learn the truth of how Lydia and Jean-Philippe’s story turns out.
I’m not familiar with the Seven Years War and don’t think I’ve ever read about it in novels before (it’s so often about WWI or WWII) so this was a fascinating introduction to a new-to-me part of history. The characters in both present day and past were wonderful; I found myself completely enthralled by their stories. The romances were all handled with such deft subtlety that when characters finally kiss for the first time, it’s the sweetest and most thrilling moment. In that, it reminds me of Jane Austen era romances (though without the bickering of Elizabeth and Darcy). In one couple, the friendship developed over time, which is my favourite type of romance, and in the other couple, they didn’t even share a language, so the attraction was developed all through furtive glances, which just felt like the sweetest way to fall in love. I love how obvious the attraction was to us as readers with our omniscient view, yet the characters themselves, while able to admit their own feelings, were uncertain for so long if their feelings were reciprocated. 😍
I also love the present-day museum story / workplace drama, and the bits about the ghost story. I love old houses and often imagine if they have resident ghosts, so Charley’s story played right into my imagination.
Such a wonderful book to lose yourself in!
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Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.