File Size: 1527 KB
Page Count: 318
Copyright: December 5, 2013
Publisher: Corazon Books
(Taken from Amazon)
Shortly after her mother's death in a Swiss plane crash, Jo Roswell is sent from the London auction house where she works to the remote and mysterious Thirlbeck – stately home of the Earl of Askew. Jo's task is to evaluate the house's contents for a sale, but she soon finds herself drawn into the complex lives of Thirlbeck's past and present inhabitants, each with their own secrets and desires.
Robert Birkett, the Earl of Askew, has returned to Thirlbeck after many years abroad. A decorated war hero, he has also spent time in prison after a fatal car accident for which he was blamed. Carlota, the Spanish Condesa, is the Earl's sophisticated yet possessive companion.
Meanwhile, Nat Birkett, a distant cousin of the earl, is the reluctant heir to Thirlbeck. A local farmer, his passion is for the land rather than titles and possessions. Following his wife's mysterious demise at Thirlbeck, he is also the single father of two young boys.
George Tolson is Thirlbeck's brooding keeper, who jealously guards the property from unwelcome strangers. By Tolson's side is Jessica, his intelligent but fragile granddaughter, who must be protected from herself.
During her stay, Jo is absorbed by the tragic story of The Spanish Lady, whose young life was cut short at Thirlbeck many centuries before. She also encounters La Española, the brilliant diamond which, according to legend, brings disaster to all who try to possess it. And she is shocked to learn of her own mother's connection to Thirlbeck.
Jo will struggle with difficult discoveries as she unlocks the puzzles which link Thirlbeck's past and present residents.
This novel was initially published by Doubleday in 1974. I can tell a vast difference in the writing styles of today's writers and those that wrote 40 years ago. The language in The Property of a Gentleman is more refined whereas today's novels have language that's more modern in vernacular. And, let's face it peeps, how we speak today is nowhere near refined.
Jo's involvement in the Thirlbeck assessment happens by chance. One of those "in the right place at the right time" incidents. When she arrives at the estate her emotions are in a turmoil. She loves it, then she hates it. It's not until she leaves Thirlbeck that she realizes how much she longs to return.
Nat and Jo's growing romance almost seems non-existent when you read the novel but, again, that's something to do with the way authors wrote their novels back then. They're different enough to complement each other's weaknesses while having enough similarities to keep them together. When it's Nat's turn to take over the title of Lord Askew will Jo still be around?
Honestly, I almost didn't finish this novel. The chapters were W-A-Y too long. I became frustrated with almost every one of them. The only reason why I didn't quit reading was because of the plot. The story is fantastically written. This is one of those novels where important facts are revealed a layer at a time and not all at once. I love that. It helps to keep a reader's interest when an author shows that kind of restraint. Those who enjoy a well-developed mystery will enjoy this (somewhat) antiquated novel.
*An ecopy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.