Mud and Gold
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Picking up where Book I ended, Mud and Gold is the second in the trilogy, Promises to Keep. I purchased this book after reading the first in the series, Sentence of Marriage. The same excellent writing, characterization, and realism make Book II just as riveting.
Amy is persuaded by her stepmother to accept Charlie’s offer of marriage—believing this to be the only way to make things right and regain her respectability. Her new husband is a man old enough to be Amy’s father, both ill mannered and brutally abusive. Nothing Amy does pleases him and she’s often beaten with little or no provocation. The only time she’s spared is when Charlie knows she’s pregnant, fearing he’ll harm his unborn child.
Amy’s story is heart wrenching to say the least and although I could understand the reasons for her staying and putting up with her husband’s brutality, I kept waiting and hoping she’d finally have enough and stand up to him. After bearing Charlie two sons and suffering numerous miscarriages due his ill use of her, Amy discovers Charlie has been less than faithful, visiting the village whorehouse. She finally stands up to him and moves out of their bedroom. It’s a small step in the right direction and I almost cried with relief.
Then there’s Amy’s cousin and best friend, Lizzie. She marries Frank and their developing relationship is a true delight. I have to be honest and admit Lizzie is my favorite character. She’s full of spunk and knows exactly what she wants and how to get it—a woman ahead of her time, full of caring warmth and good cheer. You can’t help loving her. Frank is her direct opposite and the perfect match for her. Amy’s two older brothers also fall in love and marry. Their stories are just as captivating as Lizzie and Frank’s, keeping the main plot from being too maudlin.
Mud and Gold is the perfect blend of darkness and light. Ms. Parkinson has created quite a masterpiece with the Promises to Keep series, full of so many interesting characters and intriguing stories. If you love historical fiction, don’t miss these books.