Eleanor Courtown is a pampered Irish lady who decides to come to the rescue of her cousin in need who has recently emigrated to Canada. Her cousin Lily was off on an adventure with her new husband Rowland, but when he dies on the ship heading toward Canada, Lily is left pregnant and alone. Eleanor is dismayed that both her father and Uncle feel that Lily’s husband’s family should help her out and are prepared to do nothing for Lily. Eleanor deceives her father and takes her companion and lady’s maid on a trip to “London” which is really a trip to Canada. Once there, Eleanor learns that society does not function like it did back in Ireland and that Lily’s fate is hard for her to determine and to understand.
Staying at an Inn in the town Lily lives near, Eleanor starts to make friends across all parts of society and finds herself annoyed and enamored by a doctor who is also staying at the inn. Will Eleanor be able to put away her society ways and learn to adapt to Canada? Will she be able to help her cousin Lily? Will she find love with the doctor?
Eleanor Courtown is written in first person as a letter that Eleanor is writing at the start of the novel. I’ll admit I had a hard time understanding what was going on for the first few pages, but once I got into the story, I found it very interesting. I realized I had not read much about the Canadian pioneer experience and I found it fascinating. I also had never though about what exactly would happen to a woman, to a “lady,” who was unprepared to live in a hardworking world if her husband happened to die and she was pregnant and alone in a foreign land. It made me really sad to think about the thousands of “Lilys” that must have traveled to Canada and the United States with their spouse or family dying along the way finding themselves alone in a foreign land.
I also LOVED the romance between Eleanor and Dr. Robert Stewart. Eleanor finds Dr. Stewart strange, cold, and not handsome at first, but she grows to realize she was prejudiced in her first views and there is more to the man than meets the eye.
The Victorian setting in 1870 was also very interesting. I enjoyed the characters of Eleanor and Robert as well as Mr. and Mrs. McLenaghan. I loved that Eleanor learns how families can grow when you make friends in a new land.
Author Lucy E.M. Black has great sources at the end of her novel for being a pioneer in Canada and traveling across the ocean to a new life.
“With this simple response he communicated much, and I was sorry to have pained him with my question. It was a day of uncommonly sorrowful revelations.”
“This is not the life I had been born to, I thought, but there was some joy to be laboring for those whom you hold dear.”
Overall, Eleanor Courtown was an interesting Victorian historical fiction novel with great characters and a unique, thoughtful storyline.
Book Source: Review Copy as part of the TLC Book Tour. Thank-you! For more stops on this tour, please check out this link.
The book trailer is located at: https://youtu.be/WoNKkMZnSZo
I received an extra copy of Eleanor Courtown in the mail, therefore one lucky winner will receive a copy of Eleanor Courtown by Lucy E.M. Black. If you would like to win this book, please leave a comment on what interests you about this book. Have you ever read any novels set in the Victorian era or pertaining to the pioneer experience in Canada? If so, which ones did you enjoy or not enjoy?
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.
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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 September 21st!
Please make sure to check the week of September 24th 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.