Publication date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Source: Publisher/Author for an honest review
Left suddenly penniless, the Honorable Sophia Grafton, a viscount’s orphaned daughter, sails to the New World to claim the only property left to her name: a tobacco plantation in the remote wilds of colonial Virginia. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a handsome young French spy—at gunpoint— she gathers an unlikely group of escaped slaves and indentured servants, each seeking their own safe haven in the untamed New World.
What follows will test her courage and that of her companions as they struggle to survive a journey deep into a hostile wilderness and eventually forge a community of homesteads and deep bonds that will unite them for generations.
The first installment in an epic historical trilogy by Helen Bryan, the bestselling author of War Brides and The Sisterhood, The Valleyis a sweeping, unforgettable tale of hardship, tenacity, love, and heartache.
The Valley by Helen Bryan sounded like a book I would be interested in - from the description. However, the description doesn't really give an accurate idea to the reader of what the book is actually about or how it is written. The first part of the book - at least the first one hundred pages or more - is about a young Sophia and how she met Henri when they were children and what a horrible brat she was, etc. This section isn't really needed for the novel - the information about their meeting could have been given much more briefly and succinctly later in the book without the reader missing anything important. This is basically the problem I had with the book - it was far too long and wordy with extraneous episodes. Don't get me wrong - I love long books with long, complicated sentences --- if written well and necessary. This was not the case with The Valley.
I think the goal was to tell a long, sweeping story of the author's family origins in Virginia, and at times it seemed like that might be accomplished. But then there would be a jump to some other new character that just seemed to come out of nowhere and things would be weird and I would try to grasp the point of this character and event, but it was jarring and disrupted the overall story.
I do feel torn over The Valley because there were sections that I actually enjoyed and wanted to read more about. I also felt like it would appeal to others who are into genealogy because it does tell the story of the original family members who came over to the colonies from Britain - exactly the information I have been researching for years for my own family. Unfortunately, the book just doesn't really manage to fulfill the promise of the description. I also have serious doubts about some of the historical accuracy throughout the novel.
I really wanted to like The Valley, and there were places that I could overlook the length and need of a good editor, and get into the story, but overall, it was a difficult read. I think it would appeal most to readers are interested in their own family history or the history of their hometown.
About Helen Bryan
Helen Bryan is a Virginia native who grew up in Tennessee. After graduating from Barnard College, she moved to England, where she studied law and was a barrister for ten years before devoting herself to writing full-time.
A member of the Inner Temple, Bryan is the author of four previous books: the World War II novel War Brides; the historical novel The Sisterhood; the biography Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty, which won an Award of Merit from the Colonial Dames of America; and the legal handbook Planning Applications and Appeals. The Valley is the first in a planned trilogy based on her childhood stories of ancestors who settled in Virginia and Maryland before Tennessee became a state.
Bryan resides in London with her family.
Helen Bryan’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, July 19th: Just Commonly
Tuesday, July 19th: West Metro Mommy Reads
Wednesday, July 20th: A Book Geek
Thursday, July 21st: Kritter’s Ramblings
Friday, July 22nd: View from the Birdhouse
Friday, July 22nd: Reading is My Superpower
Monday, July 25th: WV Stitcher
Monday, July 25th: FictionZeal
Tuesday, July 26th: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot
Thursday, July 28th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, August 1st: A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, August 2nd: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, August 3rd: Lavish Bookshelf
Thursday, August 4th: Just One More Chapter
Monday, August 8th: A. Holland Reads
Tuesday, August 9th: Laura’s Reviews
Wednesday, August 10th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, August 15th: BookNAround
Wednesday, August 17th: The Maiden’s Court