Book Review: The Nature of A Lady by Roseanna M. White (The Secrets of the Isles #1)

About This Book-

1906
Lady Elizabeth “Libby” Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn’t favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage’s former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished.

Oliver Tremayne–gentleman and clergyman–is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he’s happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth’s summer cottage . . . especially when he realizes it’s the curious young lady he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can’t quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.

As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love.

My Review-

Similar Reviews-

I have been reading and enjoying Roseanna M. White’s books for several years now, and I was really excited to see her releasing a new historical fiction series! This series is set in the Edwardian era, and this book in particular follows the story of scientifically-inclined Elizabeth Sinclair, which I thought was so fun! I love books about women in STEM, and I was so excited to read this.

I really enjoyed this story! I didn’t really know much about it going in, but the cast of characters and the setting of the book was so unique and made it really fun to follow. Elizabeth (Libby) is on holiday with her maid Mabena Moon to the Isles of Scilly, which I had never heard of before. It was a bit ✨colonizer energy✨, especially in the section where she interacts with some rich girl’s family that she meets, but that aside, it was really fun reading about her experience there. The tightknit community on the islands made all the characters and the setting really dynamic, and reading all the interactions between Libby and the people who live there was just so much fun.

The basis of this book is a mistaken identity of people named Elizabeth, which I found so novel and interesting! There was a mystery element to it as well, which I enjoyed so much. Libby moves into a cottage rented out by another Elizabeth, who has gone missing without anyone’s knowledge, and people start dropping off packages for “Elizabeth,” but not for her. As the story progresses, she works with Mabena Moon, who is from the area, and the rest of the people from the Isles, to figure out what is going on with the missing Elizabeth.

I felt the storytelling in this book was a bit slow: there were some sections where several days were skipped in 2 sentences, and others where 15 minutes took place over several pages. The pacing felt a little disjointed and took some calibrating to read. Some sections of it felt quite slow, whereas others felt too fast, and overall I feel like this book was a little too long: it is a bit under 400 pages, and the middle third of the book especially felt slow.

The main love interest was SO GOOD: I really loved the story told from Oliver’s perspective, and the role he played in the story: it really made the book for me and I loved his interactions with not just Libby, but also everyone else on the the Isles. He is the pastor for the region, and his personality and gentleness really made him such a good character. The romance between him and Libby was also sweet and I loved the way he introduced Libby to Christ. He was one of my favorite parts of this book. Libby herself was not my favorite: she was honestly pretty boring and did not have much of a character except “liking science.” However, I did like her development throughout the story and her romance with Oliver was top tier.

I also liked Mabena Moon’s story, and her journey of growth. It is pretty unusual for books like this to show a character growth arc for someone who is not the protagonist, but this one did and I loved it. While obviously she played a more minor role in this book, I enjoyed the story told from her perspective and her growth journey.

There were so many fun parts to this book that I loved–Mabena Moon’s parents, Mamm-wynn and Tas-gwyn, the little kitten named Darling, the pirate treasure, the boat races, the gardens, Oliver’s brother Morgan who had mitochondria disease–there was so much to love! The story itself needed a bit of suspension of disbelief for me, but I enjoyed it a lot. The writing style was captivating: while I think the writing itself was a bit slow, it was really engaging and kept me reading.

Overall, I really liked this story! While the main character herself wasn’t my personal favorite, all the other aspects of this book made it really fun to read! The character cast, the setting, and the adventure/mystery aspect of this book made it really enjoyable and I am excited for book 2!

My Rating-

4/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

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