The novel as a plot for the BBC series *****

Mildred B. Luster 10 November 2021

The plot of this novel is simply amazing for all lovers of historical dramas. The love between young Annie Carter of a farm laborer family and wealthy heir Robert takes place in Victorian England.
The characters are so vividly and emotionally written that I got involved in the story along with the characters. Will young lovers be able to overcome class differences and get their share of happiness? I empathized with the heroes, imagining how the world has changed over these 150 years.
Highly recommend this novel for long cold evenings by the fireplace.

1880 North Devon, England

Annie Carter is a farm labourer’s daughter, and life is a continual struggle for survival. When her father dies of consumption, her mother, Sabina, is left with seven hungry mouths to feed and another child on the way. To save them from the workhouse or starvation, Annie steals vegetables from the Manor House garden, risking jail or transportation.  Unknown to her, she is watched by Robert, the wealthy heir to the Hartford Estate, but far from turning her in, he befriends her.

Despite their different social backgrounds, Annie and Robert develop feelings they know can have no future.  Harry Rudd, the village blacksmith, has long admired Annie, and when he proposes, her mother urges her to accept.  She reminds Annie that as a kitchen maid, she will never be allowed to marry Robert.  Harry is a good man, and Annie is fond of him.  Her head knows what she should do, but will her heart listen?

Set against the harsh background of the rough, class-divided society of Victorian England, this heart-warming and captivating novel portrays a young woman who uses her determination and willpower to defy the circumstances of her birth in her search for happiness.

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A wonderful and captivating story *****

Amanda Sheridan 20 September 2021

This is a powerful novel about the harsh realities of life in the late 1800s if you are poor. The story is set around Annie Carter, a farm labourer’s daughter. Like all poor families of that era, they struggle to make ends meet and, when her father dies, the situation becomes dire. Annie resorts to stealing vegetables from the nearby manor house and meets Robert, the second son of the owner. And so begins a beautiful, but possibly doomed love story.
I love the author’s style. Her description of life in those days completely captured me. I grew up in rural Northern Ireland in the 1960s and I remember getting up on cold winter mornings to do the milking. I also remember rosehip seeds being put down my back! I loved this book and am looking forward to now reading the next one.

Sharon Snell Excellent story *****

23 June 2020
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down. Hopefully, there will a second book, can’t wait to read what happens next. Highly recommend this book. Excellent.


Mary Mary Loved this book, couldn’t put it down ! *****

23 June 2020
I absolutely loved this book, couldn’t put it down! loved all the characters and felt as though I was there with them! I liked it that things were described so you weren’t left guessing, I can’t wait to start the next book (The Angel maker) I got it on my kindle today I’d definitely recommend this book it’s well worth a read.


Trevor Cooper Ann & I thoroughly enjoyed this book

6 February 2018
Ann & I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It made a change to read about Devon rather than the north of England


Amy Sanders Five Stars

4 January 2018
Excellent book…I couldn’t put it down! Wonderful characters and story!


millydove The Mazzard Tree

7 January 2017
Loved this book and couldn’t put it down. Interesting characters and vividly reflects the period in which the story is set. I strongly recommend this book and author.


Angela Bean Five Stars

2 December 2016
Great book a must-read.


marilyn sanders An excellent read!

14 June 2014
An excellent book. Very much like a Catherine Cookson. Well written, charming characters and local history. Not to be missed!