About the Book
Book: In the Shadow of Croft Towers
Author: Abigail Wilson
Genre: Historical fiction, romantic suspense
Release Date: January 15, 2019
From debut author Abigail Wilson comes a mysterious Regency tale of secrets and spies, love and treachery.
Orphaned Sybil Delafield jumps at the opportunity for a position at the mysterious Croft Towers. She believes she was hired to act as companion to a dying woman, but a highway robbery and a hostile welcome from the Chalcroft family cause her to wonder if she was actually hired to help someone spy for France.
An unsolved murder adds intrigue to this already secretive family, and Sybil recognizes Mrs. Chalcroft’s handsome grandson as one of the infamous highwaymen who robbed her. Sybil must determine if this man’s charming smile and earnest eyes speak the truth or if he is simply using her like others in the house. Everyone seems to have something to hide, and Sybil must decide who to trust while also coming to terms with the truth about her own past.
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About the Author
Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A Registered Nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the National Parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children. Connect with Abigail at www.acwilsonbooks.com.
THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE
I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had never learned the truth. I wouldn’t have set off as I did for Croft Towers. I never would have met him.
It’s strange what I remember about the day I left London. The mail coach was late; the weather wretched. The clock had struck midnight long before two strangers and I ducked beneath the postmaster’s outstretched umbrella to board the Royal Mail and rumble across the North Downs.
That difficult journey east marked the beginning of an unseasonably cold autumn. Frigid rain pelted the coach windows. The undercarriage squealed beneath the seats as a metallic scent wound its way between the drafty boards. I gripped the windowsill, wondering if the coachman intended to hit every bump in the road.
“Far to go, miss?”
The woman’s voice startled me. Dressed head to toe in red
satin, she’d endured the last few darkened hours with a handful of smelling salts and a tongue hot for complaints, but she hadn’t spoken to me until now. Not until the first hint of rain-soaked daylight peeked over the horizon.
I lowered my gaze and fiddled with my bonnet ribbons. “Yes, ma’am . . . well, not too much farther, I hope.”
Taken from “In the Shadow of Croft Towers” by Abigail Wilson. Copyright © 2018 by Abigail Wilson. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.
In the Shadow of Croft Towers is an intense book from page 1 until the end. And, it’s so intricately layered. So much so that I would uncover what I thought was an answer or two only to realize that I still had no idea what was going on (in a good way). This story definitely kept me guessing right up until the very end, which made reading this book a serious page-turner. I kept turning even after I should have been in bed for the night because I just had to find out what happened next!
One of my favorite topics in this book is the notion of trusting your instincts. There is a moment when Sybil, the 22-year old narrator of this story, has an opportunity for one of her very first intimate moments with a handsome, genteel man. She has never kissed a man before, and like all girls is very excited by the prospect. By all rights, this character is the perfect first-kiss material. He is kind and generous to Sybil. He seems to really like her even though she is below his station. But something holds her back. Instead of her heart beating rapidly in anticipation, her heart is “beating a rhythm of retreat.” Not understanding why her body’s alarm system is firing like crazy, Sybil asks herself, “What [is] wrong with me?” As a woman who has been in those situations before — those moments when the center of your chest screams out, “Stop!” — I wanted to respond to Sybil, “Nothing! Nothing is wrong with you. Listen to that Voice!!!” I firmly believe that there is a voice inside all of us. If we are Jesus-believing people that Voice is the Holy Spirit. As a middle-aged woman, I know how to understand that very special Voice now, but as a 22-year old, like Sybil, I wasn’t so good at listening. If I could go back to my 22-year old self today I would tell her to ignore the world and stay strong to whatever the Holy Spirit was telling her. Life would have been a lot easier if I had listened to Him more often. As far as the novel goes, there are definite edge-of-your-seat moments where I was praying Sybil would stay strong and heed the Voice of the One within. You will just have to read the book to find out if she does!
I also really appreciate the discussion on love. Everyone knows that people need love, but this book takes it one step further. Without authentic, selfless love in a person’s life, he/she is liable to go mad. This is illustrated through a number of characters in this highly-engaging story. Now, this seems a bit over dramatic, but it’s kind of true. People without love become lonely and desperate. Lonely and desperate people can make some not-so-good choices. When people feel like they have nothing to lose they sometimes are capable of doing things, thinking things, and making choices that verge on the dark side. And, they are likely to sell their soul to the first person who gives them an ounce of attention. This idea really made me stop and think, and question my level of love. Do I give love enough, or do I tend to be self focused? I value that this novel held a mirror up to me and forced me to really consider how well I’m loving my loved ones.
In the Shadow of Croft Towers is a really engaging read. It’s a book I couldn’t put down! If you are looking for a book that has it all — secrets, ghosts, mystery, murder, spies, and romance — then this is definitely the book for you. I highly recommend it!
I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from the author via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
To celebrate her tour, Abigail is giving away a grand prize of one finished copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!
Click the link below to enter.
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