Book Review: The House of Hardie by Anne Melville

Every once in a while, you dive into a book that really makes you think the author has a handle on their genre. My contact at Agora Books reached out to me and offered The House of Hardie by Anne Melville as a suggested read in response to some of my requests and reviews to their agency. She was spot on – I loved this book!

Two families from two classes. Four siblings with four dreams. Fate versus destiny...
In this dramatic Victorian saga, can love and passion overcome power and ambition? Not a new question posed in fiction, but done very well in this case.

The House of Hardie was first published in 1987 and is the first in the Hardie Family series. Agora has re-published this title posthumously. Author Anne Melville, in fact a pseudonym for Margaret Edith Newman, born in 1926 in Middlesex.

Before writing, she worked a variety of jobs including teaching in Egypt, editing a children’s magazine in London, and advising the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in Twickenham. She published her first novel as Margaret Newman, a mystery novel entitled Murder to Music.

Newman continued publishing novels until her death in 1998, under a variety of pseudonyms and encompassing multiple genres. As Anne Melville, she focused on historical novels. Over the course of her career she published fifty-five novels.

As to the novel itself, it addresses the obstacles of romance between the merchant class and the Ton, the barriers set upon women with unrealistic expectations and limitations, it explores romance and adventure and the ties that bind us to family (and the bonds that are even greater.)

It was a well-written saga of a tale with an engaging plot and well-developed characters – especially the well-rounded, strong female leads. I mentioned in my Instagram post yesterday that it was “Historical fiction done right!”

My thanks to Agora Books for the complimentary copy via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Published: May 2, 2019 (get it in store now!)
Publisher: Agora Books

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