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The Secrets of Crestwell Hall, by Alexandra Walsh

The Secrets of Crestwell Hall book cover1605, Bess discovers a shocking plot to kill the king but can she stop it? Present day, Isabella retreats to Crestwall Hall when her marriage ends. She finds a commonality with a woman from 4 centuries ago…
The Secrets of Crestwell Hall is a dual timeline historical novel set in England. The Gunpowder Plot provides the background to both narratives.
I love the Tudor era and this book is set just after Elizabeth I’s death as her successor James I reigns. His mother was Mary Queen of Scots so the Catholics thought he would be more sympathetic to their cause. However, their frustration about the king’s personal and political decisions led to the Gunpowder Plot.
Bess is struggling to cope with a new baby and a husband in the Tower for treason. She needs to protect herself and her family as best she can so is horrified to discover Catholic plotting close to home. Meanwhile in the present day Issy and her daughter are facing major upheaval and move in woth her aunt Thalia to restore Crestwell Hall to its former glory. Her ex husband isn’t making life easy so a treasure hunt gives her purpose and hope.
The pace is rather slow to begin with, especially in the 1605 plotline. I found it confusing and slow as all the family relationships are explained (it felt more suited to a non fiction book but quite unnecessary for fiction). The research is thorough and detailed. I liked the way that women in the seventeenth century as portrayed as having a subtle power despite the patriarchal control of men.
Due to my love of history, I was expecting to like the 1605 plotline more but I found the modern day plot more emotional and the characters seemed more human. I felt angry with Issy’s ex Keith: he seemed more of a villain that the plotters because his motivations were self serving rather than acting from conscience.
The Secrets of Crestwell Hall is a detailed historical novel alongside a more emotional present day plotline.

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The Secrets of Crestwell Hall
A king adorns the throne… He has no subtlety, no grace but he does not deserve to die in the way that has been planned and this is why we shall stop them, our men, our kin and save us all.’
Bess Throckmorton is well used to cunning plots and intrigues. With her husband Sir Walter Raleigh imprisoned in the Tower of London, and she and her family in a constant battle to outwit Robert Cecil, the most powerful man in the country who is determined to ruin her, Bess decides to retreat to her beloved home, Crestwell Hall. But there she is shocked to hear talk of a new plot to murder the king. So, unbeknownst to their menfolk, the wives of the plotters begin to work together to try to stop the impending disaster.
Present Day
Isabella Lacey and her daughter, Emily, are excited to be starting a new life at her aunt’s home, Crestwell Hall in Wiltshire. During renovations, Isabella discovers an ancient bible that once belonged to Bess Throckmorton, and to her astonishment finds that it doubled as a diary. As Isabella reads Bess’s story, a new version of the Gunpowder Plot begins to emerge – told by the women.
When Emily’s life is suddenly in terrible danger, Isabella understands the relentless fear felt by Bess, hundreds of years ago. And as the fateful date of 5th November draws ever closer, Bess and the plotters’ wives beg their husbands to stop before a chain of events is set into action that can only end one way…
Purchase Link – https://mybook.to/crestwellhallsocial

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Author Bio –
Alexandra Walsh is the bestselling author of dual timeline historical mysteries, previously published by Sapere. Her books range from the fifteenth century to the Victorian era and are inspired by the hidden voices of women that have been lost over the centuries. Formerly a journalist, writing for national newspapers, magazines and TV, her first book for Boldwood will be published in Spring 2023.

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Bookbub profile: Alexandra Walsh Books – BookBub

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