Thank You to Annabel Fielding, KDP and Netgalley for a copy of this book and the opportunity to join the blogtour for this fascinating novel.
Edwardian England. Agnes Ashford knows that her duty is threefold: she needs to work on cataloguing the archive of the titled Bryant family, she needs to keep the wounds of her past tightly under wraps, and she needs to be quietly grateful to her employers for taking her up in her hour of need. However, a dark secret she uncovers due to her work thrusts her into the Bryants’ brilliant orbit – and into the clutch of their ambitions.
They are prepared to take the new century head-on and fight for their preeminent position and political survival tooth and nail – and not just to the first blood. With a mix of loyalty, competence, and well-judged silence Agnes rises to the position of a right-hand woman to the family matriarch – the cunning and glamorous Lady Helen. But Lady Helen’s plans to hold on to power through her son are as bold as they are cynical, and one day Agnes is going to face an impossible choice
Lying with Lions is set in the Edwardian era and this is really brought to life by a mixture of factual events and fiction. I love, and am fascinated by, history but the Edwardian era isn’t my strong point so I found the factual aspect to be really well written and very interesting to learn about.
The fictional setting was atmospheric and from the early pages there felt a slight sinister feel to the Bryants and their home. I enjoyed the knowledge of the different classes and how the hierarchy of the servants worked too. The house itself was vividly described and despite not knowing what the features of a home would be during that time period, I could picture it well in my mind. Intentionally I think but it never felt like a happy home or a home filled with love, fun and laughter and this came across really well. This provided a perfect backdrop for the mystery aspect of the novel.
To begin with, Agnes is employed with the task of cataloguing the family archives but a grim discovery enables her to become a confidant of Lady Helen Bryant and work her way up into a higher position within the family business and into their trust.
I enjoyed Agnes’s character development. Very early she came across as a meek and mild-mannered woman although it was clear that she was also determined to seek answers and clever enough to do it. She very quickly developed into more of a ‘lion’ as she became closer to Helen and her true ambitions and character emerged. The romantic relationship between Helen and Agnes was very well written to and felt natural. It was a great way to show a softer side to them both whilst cementing their joint teamwork in holding onto the family power.
Lying With Lions is an historical family saga that unfolds gently but is fascinating and captivating to read. I really enjoyed it.
Author Bio – Annabel Fielding
Annabel Fielding, having graduated from the University of Arts London with an MA in Public Relations, is a PR assistant by day and a novelist by night. Being a self-professed history geek, she dedicates her free time to obscure biographies, solo travel and tea. She also posts a mix of book reviews and travel photos on her blog at historygeekintown.com. She can also be followed on Twitter as @DearestAnnabel.