Book Review: Parthena's Promise by Valerie Holmes

In 1815, after five years fighting the French, London barrister and gentleman, Jerome Fender, returns to England intent on starting a new life, far from London and not in the profession for which he is trained.

Outside an inn while taking a quiet moment to reflect on his future and his family's reaction to his decision, he is approached by Parthena Munro in distress. She misconstrues his offer of help and rejects it, but steals his money instead before disappearing into the night.

Angry, yet intrigued by the identity of the thief, Jerome is determined to recover his money and sets off across the Yorkshire Moors in pursuit. After learning the reason behind the theft and unable to deny his

attraction to Parthena, Jerome offers his help once more and a plan is hatched to recover Parthena's inheritance from her conniving cousin, Bertram.

This is a short, sweet, uncomplicated romance featuring two very

likeable main characters, who form an immediate attachment despite their less than auspicious first meeting.

Jerome, grateful to have survived the war, is not prepared to resume his old life, even if his choices alienate his family, especially his mother. He wishes to settle in Yorkshire, work the land and find someone to share this new life with him. His only worry is that his war experiences have changed him so much that love will pass him by.

Parthena, too, is changed by her experiences.
Secure in her place in society, she takes her life and the servants for granted, until she is tricked into leaving her home and finds out first hand what it is like to be alone, female and lower classes. Dishonesty is not one of her traits and to steal preys on her conscience. Her whispered promise to repay the stolen money as she flees assuages her guilt a little, but not her fear of the consequences: hanging or transportation.

Valerie Holmes manages to convey a wealth of historical detail in this novella Not only have the two main characters undergone changes, but the country is also changing now that the Napoleonic Wars have ended. Soldiers are flooding back into England and as a result jobs are scarce. Large estates are being sold off for development with no consideration for the loss of rural jobs. 


The only criticism I have is that I wasn't prepared for the story to end where it did. I expected it to go on for another chapter or two. While the ending leaves no doubt what happens to the villain, it was disappointing not to actually witness his downfall.

Parthena's Promise is another entertaining romance from Valerie Holmes and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you to Endeavour Press for providing a review copy via Net Galley.

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