Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Valley by Helen Bryan (GIVEAWAY - TLC Book Tours)

The Honorable Sophia Grafton is the spoiled only child of the Viscount Grafton.  Her father wanted to ensure that the Grafton legacy would go on and focuses on Sophia being presented at court and having a season to secure a husband who will not only take the Grafton name, but live on the family estate with Sophia.  Unfortunately, Viscount Grafton was granted a large estate in Virginia.  Unfortunate as he has mortgaged the family estate to not only keep up their lifestyle but to make the Virginia land profitable.  This has included building a home, purchasing slaves, and planting the first tobacco crop.  After Viscount Grafton’s untimely death, Sophia discovers that all she has left is the property in Virginia and she is determined to make it profitable.  Traveling to Virginia with a lady’s companion, Sophia discovers that it will take courage and hard work to tame her estate.  Kidnapping a French Spy that she knew from her youth, Henri, Sophia heads west. Will Sophia find love in the wilderness?  Will she be able to tame her estate?

When I first started reading The Valley, I literally couldn’t put it down.  I was fascinated by Sophia’s story and her journey from a spoiled brat to a sophisticated young woman.  I also loved her trip to Virginia and her daring trek into the wilderness to find her estate.  I love pioneer tales and loved the adventure of the motley crew that headed west with Sophia.  It was an exciting adventure story.

Then I could put the book down and had a hard time focusing on the second half of the book.  The story focused away from Sophia and fixated on new characters that kept moving to the community.  The very last section of the book skipped far ahead in the future to descendants of the main characters.  I wanted to know what had happened to the main characters.  I wanted to see the love story develop between Henri and Sophia over time similar to Claire and Jamie in Outlander.  Instead they were less and less in the novel and it seemed that it should have been called the Valley where everyone’s dreams come to die. 

I also wasn’t sure about the reality of the community they build in the wilderness with freed escaped slaves, Native Americans, and white Europeans all living together and intermarrying.  It would be a wonderful community and the best of America, but is that realistic for the times?  I’ve never read about a community like this before.  I would have loved an Afterword that could have explained the research used and any such similar communities happening in American history.

Overall, The Valley starts strong as a tale of a young sophisticated woman growing up and discovering adventure in 18th century Virginia, but meanders and loses focus as too many characters are added in the second half of the novel.
Have you ever read a book that changed course half way through?  Did you like it or not?

What is your favorite frontier adventure novel?

For more stops on the TLC Book Tour of The Valley by Helen Bryan check out this link: 

Book Source:  Review Copy for TLC Book Tours – Thanks! 


One lucky winner will receive a copy of  The Valley by Helen Bryan.  If you would like to win The Valley, please leave a comment on why it sounds interesting.
As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner. 
For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.

I will be using random.org (or a Monte Carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments. 
This contest is only open to addresses in the United States
The deadline for entry is midnight on Friday August 26th!
Please make sure to check the week of August 29th to see if you are a winner. I send emails to the winner, but lately I've been put in their "junk mail" folder instead of their inbox.
Good luck!


  1. A frontier adventure novel which I enjoyed was Shane. Thanks for your great feature and giveaway. Most novels which I enjoy follow a predictable pattern but if they don't it can get difficult to accept the change. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. I have read several books which to waver and leave me questioning what happened. It can be disappointing. My favorite frontier story would be The Virginian. Thanks for the fascinating giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

  4. setting sounds interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  5. Thank-you to all who entered. The winner was posted on 8/29/16 at http://lauragerold.blogspot.com/2016/08/winner-of-valley-by-helen-bryan.html