Book Review: The Daughter of Hardie

Happy Sunday! Our weekend has been CRAAAAAZY busy and I haven’t had as much time to read as I would have liked, but I did finish a few great titles last week that I’ll be sharing with you over the next few days between work, parenthood, and life in general.

The Daughter of Hardie is an absolutely enjoyable way to while away a few lazy (winsome) evenings…

Back in July, my friends at Agora Books reached out to ask whether I would like to read the second book in the Hardie Family Series by Anne Melville (pseudonym for Margaret Edith Newman), originally published in the late 80’s/early 90’s. (I reviewed the first title, The House of Hardie, here.) Of course, I enthusiastically accepted the offer and downloaded a complimentary e-galley of The Daughter of Hardie. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm found itself tucked into a dark and dusty corner and I just got around to reading it despite a publication date of August 15th. Yikes!

Here is the publisher’s description, touting this title as “a poignant and moving Victorian saga.

Grace Hardie has grown up in a sweeping estate on the outskirts of Oxford. But her life has been a far cry from a fairytale. Ailing and asthmatic as a child, she never really found her place – not with her brothers, not with any friends – always on the outside. And when tragedy strikes twice in the same day, Grace’s world, and her place in it, is turned upside down. Ungainly and lonely at sixteen, could the bloom of first love be the guiding light she needs? Or is the history of The House of Hardie bound to repeat itself? As class once again threatens to tear the family apart, so too does the Great War: sweeping away this budding romance before it’s had a chance to begin. Through heartbreak and betrayal, longing and loss, Grace Hardie must adapt to this changing world and struggle to find her own way.

My thoughts on this title in a nutshell is that it was even better than the first! The centralised storyline revolving around Grace was charming. As with the previous novel, it is not a quick-paced, fast-moving adventure – it’s more of a slow walk through the woods on a perfect autumn day… or akin to catching up with friends while enjoying a tea on your couch in your comfies. It was wholesome and warm and engaging.

The strong female character(s) once again take shine dominantly, challenging societal norms and the expectations of family. Tragedy and triumph escort you through a lifetime, and you may find yourself annoyed by some of the secondary characters (leads from the first – some questionable decision making arose.) The Daughter of Hardie is an absolutely enjoyable way to while away a few lazy (winsome) evenings and I highly recommend. It’s available now to purchase!

My thanks to the publisher for sharing this delightfully empowering tale via NetGalley.

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