Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Secrets in the Mist

Friday, April 26, 2019

Secrets in the Mist (2016) Anna Lee Huber

Set in England in 1812

Ella Winterton has spent the past four years dealing with loss and grief and anger. The deaths of her mother and brother sent her father into an alcoholic decline, and being jilted by the man she thought she loved while still in mourning made things worse.

I wondered as I had so many times before whether my mother and Erik were together in Heaven. Whether they looked down on me and saw my troubles, or whether they had ceased to care, forgetting me much as Father had.

But Ella managed to hold onto her friendship with Kate–her childhood best friend and the sister of the man she thought she loved–and Kate’s illness sends her out into the marshes at night, where her life takes an unexpected–and dangerous–turn.

Everyone in Thurlton knew about the smugglers. People in Norfolk had been smuggling goods in and out of the country for the better part of 150 years. It had begun initially as a solution to the hefty import and export taxes few could afford to pay, but the system had simply become too ingrained in people’s lives to stop even when the taxes were lowered or repealed. Much of the village depended on their enterprise, and a large number of the men were employed by them in some capacity, including Mr. Turner and Mr. Harper. We all knew, but no one talked about it. At least, not in public.

Ella may be aware of the smuggling, but being the well-bred daughter of gentry, she doesn’t really know, and isn’t really a part of the town. Really, the only people she truly has are her family’s elderly housekeeper and her best friend, Kate.

I’d had this book on my wishlist of a couple of years, hoping it would drop in price, but it never did. Since it also isn’t available from the library, I finally broke down and bought.

Why did I wait? Because I like her other books very much, so I of course was afraid that I wouldn’t like it. (This isn’t actually completely ridiculous. I have authors whose writing I either love or don’t enjoy at all.)

I needn’t have worried, I did enjoy this story. It’s full of mists and darkness and dashing men and danger. And even though I was pretty sure what was going on, I didn’t mind that Ella didn’t guess, because–why would she? She is a sheltered young woman. Her not guessing what was really going on didn’t make her stupid, or even naive, really. It just made her a young woman with no world experience who had a lot going on in her life.

Plus, there was a lot to like about Ella.

And I felt something loosen inside me I hadn’t known I’d been holding tight until that very moment.

I had not realized how much I’d needed Robert to express his regret. I’d lived so many years believing it would never happen that I supposed I’d stopped hoping for it. And now that he had, I hardly knew what to say. It was balm for my bruised pride to hear him apologize, but it did not change what had happened. The hurt did not miraculously vanish, nor did the discomfort his presence caused me.

Those last two sentences: His apology didn’t change what had happen. The hurt did not miraculously vanish.

There are a couple weaknesses. Kate is one for the first half of the book. We know Ella loves her, yet she is an enigma to the reader, not doing much except providing a reason for Ella to cross the moors. She does develop more in the second half of the book, so perhaps it was just that Kate is sick at the start of the book, and so doesn’t have a lot of personality.

Ella’s complicated relationship with her father was also very well done.

I sat listening to his broken weeping, wanting to reach out to him, wanting him to go away. He was my father after all. I wanted to comfort him, to tell him all was well. But it wasn’t. It never was.

I enjoyed the book, and wouldn’t mind reading another, but I’m also ok if this is a stand-alone.

Publisher: Brightstone Media, Inc.
Rating: 9/10


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