Millie’s Escape

Another great book: This is the fifth book by Marcia Clayton that I’ve read, and it didn’t disappoint! I love the author’s style of writing. Every book compels you to keep turning the page. As always, there are so many lovable characters and a heartbreaking tale to tell. Millie’s story is one that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat, just willing her to succeed in finding a place of safety for her and her little brother, Jonnie, after the untimely death of their beloved mother. Well done, Marcia, another highly recommended read!

An enthralling stormy tale: It was a treat to read this latest book in the Hartford Manor series. I loved catching up with the older characters, as well as discovering the new ones. Marcia is a true storyteller with the gift of creating a world with characters that are true to life and believable. My only complaint is that I have to wait impatiently for the next book.

A beautifully researched story of Devon in the 19th century: Ms Clayton has done her usual excellent job of bringing old customs to life in a realistic way. I especially enjoyed these sections and recognised some of the things that were traditional in my own childhood in Northern Ireland. As always, I was left with a feeling that I had been on a visit with old friends. If you have not yet read the Hartford Manor series, I can strongly recommend them as your next historical adventure.

1885 North Devon, England

It is winter in the small Devon village of Brampford Speke, and a typhoid epidemic has claimed many victims. Millie, aged fifteen, is doing her best to nurse her mother and grandmother as well as look after Jonathan, her five-year-old brother. One morning, Millie is horrified to find that her mother, Rosemary, has passed away during the night and is terrified the same fate may befall her granny, Emily.

When Emily’s neighbours inform her that Sir Edgar Grantley has also perished from the deadly disease, the old woman is distraught, for the kindly gentleman has been their benefactor for many years, much to the disgust of his wife, Lilliana. Emily is well aware that Sir Edgar’s generosity has long been a bone of contention between him and his spouse, and she is certain Lady Grantley will evict them from their cottage at the first opportunity.

As she racks her brain for a solution, Emily remembers her father came from Hartford, a seaside village in North Devon and had relatives there. Desperate and too weak to travel, she insists Millie and Jonathan leave home and make their way to Hartford before the embittered woman can cause trouble for them. There, she tells them, they must throw themselves on the mercy of their family and hope they will offer them a home.

With Emily promising to follow them as soon as possible, the two youngsters reluctantly set off on their fifty-mile journey on foot and in the harshest of weather conditions. Emily warns them to be cautious, for she suspects Lady Grantley may well pursue them to seek revenge for a situation that has existed between the two families for many years.

Reviews

A heartfelt story beautifully written: I found this such an enjoyable and intriguing story that I was compelled to pick it up at every opportunity, desperate to find out what happened next. Beautifully written, heartfelt and emotionally moving, this book had all the ingredients of a great story: endearing, well-developed characters and a storyline that kept me turning the pages, and most importantly, a lot of heart. Author Marcia Clayton weaves an intricate story, recounting the lives of multiple families and their interconnected lives in rural North Devon in the 1800s, bringing together the warmth, hardships and authenticity of the period to life in her masterful storytelling of the Fellwood family of Hartford Manor and the families in the surrounding villages.

A wonderful addition to the series: I’m a huge fan of the Hartford Manor Series, and Millie’s Escape is a wonderful addition to the Victorian Saga. This story surrounds Millie and her young brother Jonathan as they embark on a fifty-mile journey to North Devon to seek out family after losing their mother to typhoid, leaving them with their elderly grandma, Emily. Again, Marcia has done an amazing job at creating a story that you can immerse yourself in. It’s very well written and descriptive, which allows the reader to visualize that period. The new characters fit in great with the old and well-established characters, and the story flows seamlessly. Just like the rest of the series, I thoroughly enjoyed Millie’s Escape, and I’m looking forward to what comes next. Highly recommended!

An exciting read: I read this prior to publishing and enjoyed it very much. Reading it again, with the changes made, I enjoyed it even more. This is the fourth book in the Hartford series. Millie and her brother are forced to leave home and search for some relatives who may or may not be where she thinks they are. On a hope and a prayer, Millie escapes her predicament, one step ahead of the law on a trumped-up charge. Like the other books, it paints a vivid picture of life for the poor during the early part of Victoria’s reign and their struggle to survive in an unjust world, and all of it is told in a wonderful story. It makes for interesting reading and sits well with the others in the series. Millie’s journey to safety is exciting to read, from betrayal to being saved by the most unlikely persons. An exciting tale of desperate lives, the story flips between Millie and Jonathan’s predicament and a counter-narrative of what is happening in Hartford, the place to which they are heading.

The Family Story Develops: In the fourth part of the Hartford Manor story, we once again meet Robert and Annie with their extended family. Sam gets to know his long-lost family. Betsey and Ned make plans for the next part of their lives. There’s a lot going on in North Devon. Meanwhile, in the south of the county, young Millie and Jonathan lose their mother and gain a deadly enemy on the same day. Fleeing for their lives, they begin a perilous journey northwards. Another very enjoyable read from Marcia Clayton, combining engaging story-telling with excellent research to bring us another slice of life in rural Victorian Devon.



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