Welcome to the Isles of Scilly, a cluster of islands off the coast of Cornwall widely known for its stunning scenery, tropical flora, pirate folklore, and quaint holiday homes. Every year, flocks of holiday-goers come to the Isles to revel in the sunshine; however, in the summer of 1906, danger lurks around every corner, and mistaken identity could lead to a perilous end. Join Lady Elizabeth Sinclair, Mabena Moon, and Oliver Tremayne as they unlock the secrets that have been buried for too long!
Lady Elizabeth (Libby) Sinclair has always felt out of place in London’s high society. Fascinated by science and botany, she would rather spend her days with her nose in her notebook, sketching the new plants surrounding her, than dressing up to spend the evening with the ton. Desperate to leave the city after her brother declares his plans for her to marry Lord Sheridan, Libby takes her maid, Mabena’s, advice and rents a small cottage on Saint Mary’s. Excited to be free, Libby’s dream of a quiet summer quickly comes to an end when she arrives at her lodging to discover that she is not the first person to inhabit the cottage that summer, nor is she the first Elizabeth.
“Perhaps you weren’t perfectly adapted to the environs into which you were born, Libby. But that doesn’t mean He made a mistake in where He put you. It means only that He set you on a journey, like any other migratory creature who needs different settings for different seasons. He led you here.”
Mabena Moon said she would never come back to the Isles. Having left two years prior, she was content with staying as far away from her past as possible, but, after receiving a strange letter from her best friend, Elizabeth (Beth) Tremayne, Mabena knows she can’t keep away anymore. Returning under the guise of a maid, Mabena hopes to find Beth while keeping the truth from Libby; unfortunately, those hopes are disrupted the moment Beth’s brother shows up at the cottage.
Oliver Tremayne, a vicar, and fellow science enthusiast, is determined to find his sister. When Beth exclaimed her desire to spend the summer on Saint Mary’s, he could not deny her; however, Oliver knows something is wrong when her letters abruptly stop. Going in search of her, Oliver is stunned to find another woman in the home his sister rented. More surprising, he knows the lady, having met her two years prior.
The truth doesn’t stay hidden for long, but will the trio be able to locate Beth before it’s too late, or will Libby be the one to face the consequences if Beth doesn’t show up in time?
He had nothing to gain here but Libby herself. And everything—absolutely everything to lose.
The Nature of a Lady, book one in The Secrets of the Isles series, is a beautifully written novel that inspires readers to look at the world through the Creator’s eyes while highlighting the importance of identity, faith, love, and family. We all long to find our place in this world, but it’s not until we hear the wind call our name that we know we have reached our destination, though it might not be the future we expected.
When we stay, it’s because the islands know our names, and they whisper them to us on the wind.
While I was quickly absorbed into the story and looked forward to working with the characters as they unraveled the clues that would find Beth and, hopefully, uncover the pirate treasure hidden somewhere on the Isles, I was really disappointed when the plot focused more on romance than mystery (not that I’m complaining too much about this). Was there suspense? Sure; but, before I could get too excited about a discovery or revealed clue, the scene would jump, and the momentum would die before it had really begun. By the last third of the book, I found myself caring little about finding Beth and more about Libby and Oliver’s growing chemistry (it was fire)!
Love really was like a bird. You didn’t know where it might settle, or when. You couldn’t tame it, couldn’t force it. Couldn’t often predict it. You could call and call for it and never would it flutter down. Then, at the most unexpected time, in the most unexpected place, there it was. Here it was.
As my introduction to Roseanna White’s work, I have no idea if this is her usual writing style; nevertheless, I do not want to deter anyone from reading this book. There are some great messages and scenes that make this story worth a read. Setting aside my disappointment, I thoroughly enjoyed The Nature of a Lady and loved the godly aspects strewn through the pages. The characters were also relatable. Libby’s search for purpose and belonging greatly resonated with me, and I enjoyed watching her grow more confident in her skin.
In her mind, God had always been distant, abstract. But now, here, with these people, she couldn’t help but think that He’d come near. Or that she had.
The Nature of a Lady is a great Historical Fiction Romance novel that will make you want to book a trip to the Cornish coast ASAP, especially when you learn that the Isles of Scilly and the Tresco Abbey Garden really exist!
*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a pre-release copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are entirely my own!*
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