Published: 24th October 2013
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 520 pages
Elspet Leviston’s greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel’s lace business. But her dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin Zachary Deane – who has his own designs on Leviston’s Lace.
Zachary is a dedicated swordsman with a secret past that seems to invite trouble. So Nathaniel sends him on a Grand Tour, away from the distractions of Jacobean London. Elspet believes herself to be free of her hot-headed relative but when Nathaniel dies her fortunes change dramatically. She is forced to leave her beloved home and go in search of Zachary – determined to claim back from him the inheritance that is rightfully hers.
Under the searing Spanish sun, Elspet and Zachary become locked in a battle of wills. But these are dangerous times and they are soon embroiled in the roar and sweep of something far more threatening, sending them both on an unexpected journey of discovery which finally unlocks the true meaning of family…
Firstly, I’d like to say thank you to Deborah for sending me a copy to read and review. When the book entered my letterbox, I was very excited. The cover was gorgeous, the blurb was enticing and it was generally a novel I was looking forward to reading.
Two siblings Eslpet and Zachary find themselves meeting after a string of family secrets. Elspet is unhappy her father lied and Zachary is thrilled he has entered a family of wealth. Soon into their turbulent relationship their father dies and it comes to light that he’s caused unnecessary tension and split the inheritance rather than give all to Eslpet. On that happy news Zachary leaves for a tour of Europe and finds himself residing in Spain. Elspet finds herself travelling all the way to try and persuade Zachary to not sell her family home. You get the impression that he’s a very hot headed gentlemen and she finds it difficult to try and get him to reason with her.
Your feelings towards Zachary’s character seem to change on numerous occasions, one minute you disliked his behaviour and the next you felt sorry for him. As the story develops you realise why he is acting the way he does and in reality, he has a heart of gold. He falls in love with Spain and decides it’s a place he wants to stay and I totally agree with him. I know it would be different to how it is today, but I love Spain and everything about it, so it was nice to read a novel with reference to how they lived back then. A topic that appears frequently is that of the Morisco religion and lifestyle. Moriscos’ were Muslims who were forced to convert to Christianity rather than be killed or expelled from Spain in the early 1500’s. The more you read ‘A Divided Inheritance’ the more you find out about the Moriscos’ and I was fascinated with how they lived and what they had to go through. I’m not a religious person by any means so I don’t know if my statement is justified, but I don’t understand how you could be punished for believing in something even when you’re causing no harm.
Now, this may sound incredibly silly and probably inform you as to how intelligent I am (which is not very) but not once in the novel did I feel stupid or that I should go and read up on Spanish history circa 1500’s. Deborah does a fantastic job of taking you into the era and treating you like a fly on the wall. I honestly felt like I was there and my imagination pictured everything perfectly. I will admit that normally this genre is not what I go for as I’m often a little intimidated. Historical novels (to me) are typically of length and most of the time I’m not interested in the time period the book is about. However, after reading Deborah’s masterpiece I’m really eager to give historical fiction a better go.