This is a great addition and by far my favourite of the Hartford Manor Series. This is a beautifully written book which tells the story of Betsey Lovering a little girl who lives with her parents and two brothers, Barney and Norman. Due to Marcia’s talent for detail and description, it was easy for me to picture the scenes as I read along. Again, the author has done an amazing job at taking us through the difficulties to which the poor were subjected during this period of time. A thoroughly engrossing read that will play with your heartstrings. Cannot recommend this enough!

Set in 1820, Betsey is the prequel to the much-loved Hartford Manor Series.

Betsey, a sadly neglected child, is shouldering responsibilities far beyond her years. As she does her best to care for her little brother, Norman, she is befriended by Gypsy Freda, an old woman whose family is camped nearby. Freda’s granddaughter, Jane, is also fond of the little girl and is concerned about her.

Thomas, the second son of Lord Fellwood, happens across the gypsy camp and becomes besotted with Jane. However, Jasper Morris, the local miller, also has designs on the young gypsy, and inevitably, the two men do not see eye to eye.

Betsey is drawn into their rivalry for the attention of the beautiful young woman, and she finds herself promising to keep a dangerous secret for many years to come.

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The Hartford Manor series just gets better and better. I must confess, this the last, (or is it the first?) is the best of a very fine series of books – and my favourite. Betsey is a prequel to the three Hartford Manor books and fills in some gaps or better still, some curiosities, that are presented in the other books and especially in the last, The Rabbit’s Foot. Together they make for a compelling read and each book is capable of standing on its own, anyway. Betsey is a well-written tale, there are moments of history in the text that I personally loved, and the story is a heartfelt tale that will move the reader. The series is highly recommended and one that I loved reading. Well done to the author.

I loved this amazing book. Betsey is a six-year-old girl, but old beyond her years. I was transported into her story and felt the myriad of emotions which Betsey experienced. I laughed when she did and grieved when she did. The details of the story were well-researched and felt authentic.

I absolutely loved all of the Hartford Manor books but Betsey is my favourite. The characters, storyline and storytelling are so good I didn’t want to stop reading, but when I did couldn’t wait to start again. I recommend this book 100%. If you like Catherine Cookson you’ll definitely love this series from Marcia Clayton!

I’ve been waiting for this book to be released for some time as I enjoyed the three previous books from this author. I was not disappointed. It’s a story of tragic loss and endurance under terrible hardship, but also a tale about the strength and determination of one little girl to survive! This is a read not to be missed!!