Great Expectations meets Grantchester in this story of love and lies, secrets and second chances, set in Edwardian England. Beaten and left for dead in the English countryside, clergyman and reformer Tom Cross is rescued and nursed back to health by Miranda and Simon Thorne, reclusive siblings who seem to have as many secrets as he does. Tom has spent years helping the downtrodden in London while lying to everyone he meets, but now he's forced to slow down and confront his unexamined life.
"Anglican canon Tom Cross is not exactly a model clergyman: he's far too charming with the ladies, doesn't get along well with his fellow priests, and enjoys fighting bare-knuckled in the boxing ring. Still, his zeal for reform and ability to smoothly operate in every sphere have placed him first in line for the deanship of St. John's Cathedral. Until he is kidnapped and beaten almost to death by unknown enemies. Tom is taken in and nursed by Miranda Thorne, a talented artist, and her brother, hardworking Simon. In Miranda's presence, Tom knows peace, but when he returns to his clerical duties in London, everything falls apart, as his lies and hidden past catch up with them both. Harwood (Impossible Saints, 2018) has taken the villain from her last novel and turned him into a sympathetic, if flawed, protagonist. Both historical-fiction and historical-romance fans will relish this novel, in which characterization is strong and realistically informed by backstories and in which two damaged people come to truly know themselves and find their missing pieces in each other.--Bethany Latham Copyright 2018 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"After a promising opening, this tepid historical from Harwood (Impossible Saints) loses momentum. Early one morning in October 1907, clergyman Tom Cross wakes up in a London hotel room next to his mistress, Julia Carrington, and decides to end their scandalous relationship. Tom makes his excuses to Julia before heading off to visit the sick at London Hospital in Whitechapel. After leaving the hospital late that night, he gets into a cab and falls asleep. When he awakes, he's on a remote country road, where he's soon set upon by three men and left unconscious. He's rescued by siblings Miranda and Simon Thorne, who take him into their Surrey cottage and nurse him back to health. Tom conceals his true identity from them, even as he finds himself increasingly attracted to Miranda, an aspiring artist. He feels even more conflicted when he learns that she has had an aversion to men of the cloth since having a mysterious and unpleasant experience with one when she was younger. Harwood gradually pulls back the curtain on Tom's own past, which may hold the answer to the mystery of why he was assaulted. Routine plotting and character development make it hard for readers to care much about the goings-on. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
catreq 10/13/20 8p
||Large print edition
495 pages (large print) ; 23 cm