by Linda Griffin
GENRE: 20th Century Historical Romance
In 1963, Neil Vincent, a middle-aged World War II veteran and “Christian atheist,” is working at Westfield Court as a chauffeur. He spends most of his spare time reading. Mary Claire DeWinter is a young, blind Catholic college student and reluctant heiress. To secure her inheritance, she has to marry within a year, and her aunt is pressuring her to marry a rich man who teased and bullied her when she was a child. Neil and Mary Claire shouldn’t even be friends, but the gulf between them is bridged by a shared love of books. Can they cross the bridge to more?
“To my beloved granddaughter, Miss Mary Claire St. James DeWinter, my sole surviving grandchild,”—as if poor, disowned Phillip no longer existed—“the house at Westfield Court and all my remaining possessions and assets—” Edna St. James sat very straight in her chair and glared balefully at her niece, and several of the others gasped, but Mr. Prentice was not finished. “Providing only that she fulfill two necessary stipulations. Firstly, that she permit my daughter-in-law, Mrs. Edna Carrington St. James, widow of my beloved son Marcus, to remain in residence at Westfield Court for as long as she lives, and Secondly, that she, as a young woman in need of protection and guidance, marry within one year of my death and remain married. If she fails to marry within the stipulated time or is divorced or widowed and fails to remarry within a year, Westfield Court and the entire estate is to be bequeathed to the State of Massachusetts, for whatever purposes it may deem fit.”
Everyone stared at Mary Claire. She was so white that her scars were more visible in contrast, and Neil half rose from his chair in case she was about to faint.
“Is that even legal?” Mrs. St. James demanded.
“Yes, ma’am,” said Mr. Prentice. “I believe it is.”
“After all the years I spent managing this house, not to mention his precious Marcus, he’s left me at the mercy of this little—” She rose to her feet, bristling with injured dignity, and stalked out of the room.
Goodness. That’s what this book is. It’s about goodness and bridging the gap between people and how willing they are to compromise with each other. Not to mention a May-December romance. Normally, I’m not too fond of those types of romances, but this one caught my attention since it’s a historical romance and the timeframe, too. Omg, and the class system that is alive and well in the United States. And last, the whole dreaded “must marry to inherit the estate”. Catnip for me. Oh, and books. Lots of books.
I adored the romance between Neil and Mary Claire. It’s a slow burn and how Ms. Griffin handled it is well done. She takes her time with them and lets them become friends first. Throws in a monkey wrench or two, but it’s worth it in the end. Trust me. The May-December romance works here when it shouldn’t. Especially during this time in history. It’s sensual and refreshing. Neil is a genuine hero in my eyes. A war veteran who knows who he is and what he wants. Mary Claire is blind, but Neil doesn’t treat her like she does. He respects her religion and who she is as a person.
The books that bridge the gap between them are so good. It’s interesting to listen to their conversations about the books. I’ll be honest though, most of them I’ve never read. *hangs head in shame* The pacing of the story is fantastic. Ms. Griffin takes her time, and the cadence is beautiful. Beautifully written vintage romance that is heartwarming and sweet. I highly recommend it.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Author Bio: Linda Griffin is a native of San Diego and has a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. As soon as learned to read, she knew she wanted to be a “book maker” and wrote her first story at the age of six. She retired from a position as fiction librarian for the San Diego Public Library to spend more time on her writing. Her stories have been published in numerous journals, including Eclectica, Thema, The Binnacle, Orbis, and mostly recently The Adirondack Review. Bridges is her fifth novel published by the Wild Rose Press, following Seventeen Days (2018), The Rebound Effect (2019, Guilty Knowledge (2020), and Love, Death, and the Art of Cooking (2021).
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Linda Griffin will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.