Lady of a Thousand Treasures ~ Review with Giveaway

Lady of a Thousand Treasures
The Victorian Ladies Series #1
By Sandra Byrd

Miss Eleanor Sheffield has been tasked with determining to whom Baron Lydney's collection of treasures will be given. The collection is vast and grand and highly sought after. But Eleanor must keep her personal feelings out of her decision making. And she does have personal feelings - she not too long ago thought that she and the late Baron's son would be wed. But when Harry tarried overlong on the Continent with no word Eleanor's hopes faded.

As Eleanor works through the estate's inventory she must determine who is worthy of the treasures her late father help Baron Lydney amass. Does it belong in the South Kensington Museum where all might enjoy it or does it belong with Harry and Watchfield House? With rumors that Harry is not worthy of holding such treasures, Eleanor must observe and test.

But more than the final ownership of the late Baron's possessions is at stake - Eleanor is also trying to keep her family's antiquities business going which following the death of her father and the decline of her Uncle Lewis is a nearly insurmountable task for a single woman in 1860s England. As business declines, Eleanor feels that her final decision will determine the fate of Sheffield Brothers. But can her business survive until a decision is reached or will she find her future in lies in debtor's prison?

This is a delightful and intriguing glimpse into a seldom-explored aspect of English history. Who knew that the upper class had such an interest in collecting rare pieces and antiquities that it could support a whole industry. I found the need for procurers and evaluators of pieces to be wholly unexpected. Also that even at that time the ability of those to produce forgeries was a real concern is something I did not expect. Get ready to enter a world of prejudice and betrayal with the ultimate treasure at stake.

The author's notes about the historical elements and real people that she included to bring this book together are well worth reading. Some of these facts a person may have heard briefly in history class but most likely never made it into the books - I know they didn't mine (I have the books on the shelf to look through). The efforts that Sandra Byrd goes to in added historic detail to her books is evident in the past that she brings to life.  I would highly recommend this book to fans of historical Victorian era fiction - this is not dry or tired and will leave you with a better understanding of this world.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through TLC Book Tours with no expectations except that I offer my honest opinion. - All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

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~ Blooming with Books