The Widow

Elizabeth Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, The Nineteenth Century Leave a Comment

Title: The Widow

Author: Mary Kingswood

Publisher: Sutors Publishing

Copyright: June 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1912167272


Format: E-Book, 386 Pages

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Women’s Historical Fiction


Nell Caldicott awaits the return of her violent sailor husband with trepidation, but for once her fears are not realised. Her husband’s ship, the Brig Minerva, has sunk off the Cornish coast. Nell is free, but her husband has left her with little money and many questions about his past. Gradually, as his secrets are laid bare, she realises she didn’t know her husband at all. Can she uncover the truth? And can she ever learn to trust a man with her heart again?

Nathan Harbottle is on a quest to find his missing cousin, but the tragic wife of the Minerva’s captain attracts him more than he cares to admit. He wants to help, but he’s powerless to intervene. However, their lives are destined to collide in unexpected ways, and his resolve to be nothing more than a friend to the beautiful widow is sorely tested. Can he set aside his own past and convince her to take a chance on love?


The Widow, the first installment in “The Silver Linings Mysteries” is a novel about an abused wife, Nell Caldicott whose husband, Jude dies at sea. Nell is very much a broken woman who early on realizes her mistake in marrying Jude but she refuses to regret her decision. Living in dire financial straits, she soon meets the handsome Nathan Harbottle, a wealthy gentleman who is in search of his long lost cousin, Felix Harbottle. After her late husband’s watery demise, Nell discovers some unsettling secrets that Jude kept from her and starts to explore just how dark and deep these secrets are. While undertaking this unpleasant chapter in her life, she reluctantly comes to realize her blossoming affection for Mr. Harbottle.

This was my first time reading a book by Mary Kingswood. In some ways it was charming with how Ms. Kingswood illustrated the scenes and introduced the cast of characters. There were moments where I felt like I was in a bygone world replete with “routs,” elegance, propriety, and “the beau-monde.” Unfortunately, this is where my admiration of the story ended. It took me almost two weeks to read this book because I had a hard time getting into it.

This novel is marketed as a mystery but I would venture to say that it scarcely is one. While it possessed some elements of mystery, there was nothing thrilling or awe-inspiring to keep me on the edge of my seat. In fact, the “mystery” was far too transparent and anti-climactic to be interesting. This is perhaps what disappointed me the most.

In Nell Caldicott, I found an insipid and unremarkable heroine who could have used some vivacity and charm. In Nathan Harbottle, her counterpart, I found an equally uncompelling and uninteresting hero. For some reason, their romance seemed a bit tepid and contrived. I really wanted to like the characters and their burgeoning romance.

For the most part, I enjoyed Ms. Kingswood’s storytelling style and the overall thoughtful tone of the novel. There were instances, however, where I felt that the author was telling too much. Sometimes it is good to allow elements of the story to be shown/revealed naturally.

Even though this book did not do much for me, I would revisit Ms. Kingwood’s writing in the future. 3 Stars!


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