Diana Norman, Ariana Franklin is a journalist, now novelist because she loves historical detail. Reviews of all her books are excellent. There is so much detail, you can reread these books. There are nuances and great detail, but galloping reads as well.
My heart broke for the woman in this story – married at 18 within the aristocratic England; incredible descriptions of family, duty, life. She never forgave her parents for her marriage yet accepted her duty. The arrival of her son was her deepest joy and worst hurt as her husband removed all joy and and beat out all happiness. But she finds herself free at 39 with his death. Only to have her son and his wife cripple her (financially) – and yet she gives her son what he needs, clinging to his wife for support and affection. BUT she escapes by ‘visits’ – and the arrival of a letter that awakens the dream of the only happy time in her life when she was 13/14.
Then comes the crusade to save the ‘boy’, to help a friend, to have an adventure and ‘live’. She falls in love, what a magical relationship that is. What astounding characters/people. (a slave is given his freedom, and gives it back to save the cause – prisoner exchange. the second woman Makepeace – so very different, so alike and the tale that combines the two lives, making a social history). Profound on so many levels.
(She is also the author of the Mistress of Death series which I love)