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5+ stars for False Pretences by @writerinagarret #historicalmystery #classicromance #bookreview

Title: False Pretences

Author: Rosemary Morris

Genre: Historical Mystery, Historical Romantic Mystery

Book Blurb:

Five-year-old Annabelle, who does not know who her parents are, arrives at boarding school fluent in French and English. Separated from her nurse, with few memories of her past, a shadow blights Annabelle’s life. When high-spirited, eighteen-year-old Annabelle, who is financially dependent on her unknown guardian, receives an order to marry a French baron more than twice her age, she refuses. Her life in danger, Annabelle is saved by a heroic gentleman, who promises to help her discover her identity. Yet, from then on, nothing is as it seems. To protect her captivating champion, broken-hearted, she is forced to run away for the second time. In spite of many false pretences, even more determined to discover her parents’ identity, Annabelle must find out who to trust. Her attempts to unravel the mystery of her birth, lead to further danger, despair, unbearable anguish and even more false pretences, until the only person, who has ever wanted to cherish her, reveals the startling truth, and all’s well that ends well.

If you enjoyed Georgette Heyer’s Regency Novel False Colours you will enjoy Rosemary Morris’s False Pretences. Review I shy away from historical romance because I absolutely hate anomalies—things like the use of modern jargon in period pieces. But this book was a Christmas gift, and I’m familiar with Ms. Morris, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m so glad I did. As you can see, I found no anomalies and no modern jargon. ..It was a page-turning mystery that I had difficulty putting down, and a truly delightful read.

My Review:

A young woman searches for her parents yet all she uncovers are false pretences. Annabelle arrives at a boarding school at the tender age of five, fluent in French and English. She has no knowledge or memory of her parents. She does, however, have an unknown guardian who takes care of all of her expenses. When her guardian orders her to marry a baron more than twice her age, she rebels. She’s eighteen now and thinks she can handle life on her own. With her life in peril, she is rescued by a gentleman who offers to help her find her parents. She is too trusting and soon learns the hard way nothing and nobody are what/who they appear to be. Thwarted at every turn, Annabelle pursues the inquiry into her birth and who her parents are, no matter the cost. When the truth is finally revealed, so is the one person who’s been by her side all along. Can she vanquish false pretences to find the truth and possibly love?

False Pretences is a riveting historical mystery I couldn’t put down. It’s not often I read a book late into the night, but I couldn’t help myself with False Pretences. I connected with Annabelle immediately. She’s such a wonderful heroine with honest, heartfelt reactions to all that life throws her way. There’s a full cast of characters including a few nefarious ones. The plot moves at an excellent pace with a multitude of twists I didn’t see coming. What makes False Pretences such an intriguing read is the historical writing. Rosemary Morris is an extensive researcher, and she weaves a historical story with descriptive narration, dialogue reflecting the era, and a large number of historical tidbits. It’s quite the immersive experience, reading False Pretences. I couldn’t put it down and it’s one of my favorite Rosemary Morris stories. If historical mystery is your reading jam, pick up False Pretences. If you’re a classic historical romance reader, you’ll be swept away by False Pretences. Brilliant from start to finish, False Pretences is a must-read.

My Rating: 5+ stars

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Author Biography:

There is a gigantic canvas for a historical novelist to choose from.

I am a multi-published historical novelist whose novels are set in the reign of Charles II’s niece, Queen Anne Stuart, who reigned from 1702 to 1714, and the ever popular Regency era. I have also written a mediaeval novel set in in the reign of Edward II.

I chose those periods because each of them affected the course of history. If the Duke of Marlborough had not won The War of Spanish Succession, and The Duke of Wellington had been defeated by Napoleon at The Battle of Waterloo, the history of Britain and that of Europe would be different. Defeat would also have had far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world. If Edward II had won the Battle of Bannockburn, it is feasible that he would have conquered Scotland and, perhaps, as it is claimed, he would not have been murdered.

The more I read about my chosen eras the more fascinated I become, and the more aware of the gulf between the past and present. Those who lived in the past shared the same emotions as we do, but their attitudes and way of life were in many ways very different to ours. One of the most striking examples was the social position of women and children in in bygone ages.

My characters, are of their time, not men, women and children dressed in costume who behave like 21st century people.

Research of my chosen eras sparks my imagination. The seeds of my novels are sown, and from them sprout the characters and events which will shape their lives.

I was born in Kent. As a child, when I was not making up stories, my head was ‘always in a book.’

While working in a travel agency, I met my Hindu husband. He encouraged me to continue my education at Westminster College. In 1961 I and my husband, by then a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where I lived from 1961 until 1982. After an attempted coup d’état, four of my children lived with me in an ashram in France.

Back in England, I wrote historical fiction, joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Historical Novel Society, Watford Writers and online groups.

Apart from writing, I enjoy classical Indian literature, reading, visiting places of historical interest, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit, herbs and vegetables and creative crafts.

My bookshelves are so crammed with historical non-fiction, which I use to research my novels, that if I buy a new book I have to consider getting rid of one.

Time spent with my five children and their families, most of whom live near me, is precious.

The second editions of my historical novels and my new ones will be published by Books We Love.

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Reviewed by: Mrs. N


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