BOOK REVIEW: Two families torn apart.....Two hearts drawn together......One impossible love. Olivia Hewes has one dream: to make Chatham Manor's wool-producing venture profitable. She must succeed or be forced to trade her independence for a loveless marriage. And her most threatening competition comes from neighboring estate owner, Randolph Sherbourne.
Sherbourne is a beloved benefactor of the town of Otley--beloved, that is, by all except his nearest neighbors: the Hewes family of Chatham Manor. Tormented by the recent demise of his father, Randolph has little time to spare for the centuries-old feud between the two estates.
When Olivia's and Randolph's paths cross unexpectedly, Randolph is captivated by the charming Miss Hewes. Soon the two are drawn toward a forbidden love that will mean betraying both their families. But when the shocking truth about the death of Randolph's father is revealed, their future happiness seems doomed.
MY REVIEW: I like historical fiction. Something about the high society life is just interesting to read about. Anyways, this is one of those books. Chatham Manor and Thorne Hall are neighboring manors, separated by a resilient hawthorn hedge. Decades ago, two friends were knighted and given adjoining manors, and as time went by, someone planted a hedge along the property line. But alas, one side declared the other had taken some of his property in the act. Thus started the inevitable feud that grew through time, until the present day (in the book) when each family blames every little problem on the other family, and each declares the other to be the most horrid, despicable, lying family in the town.
But what would you know, in one moment, when the children of these families accidentally meet, all that is changed. The two start to fall in love with each other and pursue avenues of peace, though met with resistance by their families. And then there is the owner of the local worsted mill, who spites each family against the other by declaring the other's wool superior, and other such acts.
The feud is making its mark in the church, half siding with each family. When a heretical speaker gives a speech on his geological findings, the problems escalate, till a church split is on the horizon and the pastor is up for questioning.
I really enjoyed this book, and it is not my first time reading it. I appreciated that Randolph and Olivia tried to fix the squabbles between their families, and that they had growing relationships with the pastor and his wife. Randolph is already a Christian, and Olivia becomes one as she observes the lives of the true Christians around her. All in all a very enjoyable book.