My Review of "The White Camelia" by Juliet Greenwood.

This book effortlessly transports us to a time where much of what we as women take for granted was definitely not a given! It is easy to forget what it was like for women back a hundred and fifty years and more ago when simply being on the street alone could get you mistaken for a prostitute! 

The story of two women, Sybil and Bea, world's apart - but not - and revenge on wrongs previously committed is intriguing, fascinating and enthralling.  What are the mysteries surrounding the past of the two ladies whose futures were moulded by very different beginnings? Will they be able to face their demons and each other? 

The writer captures scenes brilliantly and the reader can easily get the feeling of where they are whether it is the the deserted and dusty manor house or the crowded tea room with it's comforting slices of tea loaf! Cornwall is a fabulous setting and the author could not resist a hint of Welsh being put into the mix and a description of pre-emancipation London. Those were exciting and risky times.

This is one of those books that you don't want to put hell with the washing up and the laundry! It will wait until the last lines are read!  I cannot wait to read more from this author and I am not sure why I have not read her before!

The White Camellia
 by Juliet Greenwood
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 15th September 2016
Publisher: Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press
1909. Cornwall.  Her family ruined, Bea is forced to leave Tressillion House, and self-made business woman Sybil moves in.  Owning Tressillion is Sybil’s triumph — but now what? As the house casts its spell over her, as she starts to make friends in the village despite herself, will Sybil be able to build a new life here, or will hatred always rule her heart?

Bea finds herself in London, responsible for her mother and sister’s security. Her only hope
is to marry Jonathon, the new heir. Desperate for options, she stumbles into the White Camellia tearoom, a gathering place for the growing suffrage movement. For Bea it’s life-changing, can she pursue her ambition if it will heap further scandal on the family? Will she risk arrest or worse?

When those very dangers send Bea and her White Camellia friends back to Cornwall, the two women must finally confront each other and Tresillion’s long buried secrets.

Cornwall, 1909
It had not changed.
            Sybil stepped to the very edge of the cliff and gazed down at the rambling old house below her, topped with a maze of chimneys, a crumbling reminder of its Jacobean finery.
            There was no finery left in Tressillion House, she thought grimly. Even from this distance, the place held an air of ruin and abandonment. No smoke rose up through the chill morning from warm fires within. No bustle of servants, no carriage waiting to take the ladies on their rounds of visits and charitable works in the neighbouring village of Porth Levant. Not even Hector, the stallion, steaming in the frosted morning, taking the master of the house on an inspection of the mine, just visible on the next headland.
            This was what she had set in motion, all those years ago. The perfect revenge. 
            Sybil shivered. She unwound the scarf from her head and breathed in deeply the salt blowing in from the sea, her eyes following the North Cornish coast as it vanished into the distance in the crash of spray against rocks.
The wind tugged at her, loosening her curls from the silver clasp at the base of her neck, sending tendrils of brown hair in a wild dance around her face. Sybil turned back to the house below. She had dreamed of this for so long. The moment she would have Tressillion House helpless at her feet. When the Tressillions − who had once had more than they could ever need, but had not thought twice about taking the last hope from people with nothing − would be destroyed, the survivors learning what it was like to be totally dependent on others.
Was this how revenge felt? Sybil hugged herself, pulling the folds of her coat around her, bent almost double by the grief coiling deep in her belly.
'Beautiful, isn’t it?'
Sybil straightened, banishing any emotion from her face. 'Indeed.' She turned to meet the square, squat little man emerging from the smart new Ford automobile, one hand struggling to keep his hat on his head.
'The best view of Tressillion House,' he remarked. 'You can see, Miss Ravensdale, just what an exceptional property this is. There’s none finer this side of Truro.'
'So I see, Mr Roach,' she replied, almost managing to banish any hint of irony. On their first meeting, the solicitor had made obvious his contempt at a spinster, not in the first flush of youth, daring to invade his offices in broad daylight for all the respectable citizens of St Ives to see. He had changed his tune a little too quickly at the sight of her gleaming new Chevrolet, shipped all the way from New York, and speaking more of true wealth than any flash of diamonds.
Tressillion House had proved a more than usually difficult properly to dispose of, and there were impatient creditors snapping at Mr Roach’s heels. She must have seemed like a miracle, a rich hotelier from America dreaming of owning a property in Cornwall. Who else, the gleam in Roach’s eyes declared, would be fool enough to live in an isolated mansion fallen on hard times, with the rollers of the North Cornwall coast clawing at the rocks on wild nights, and ghosts creaking amongst its rafters?
Sybil replaced the scarf around her head. 'Shall we go?'


  1. Thank you Andrea for this great review. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I loved writing it. And I'll never take any of my freedoms for granted ever again! :-)


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