Verity Barforth was an untouched girl of 17 when she was married. She was a woman of 26 when she fell in love.Verity knew well why her handsome, womanizing cousin Joel Barforth wed her. She was heiress to a great Yorkshire weaving mill, and her husband lusted for wealth as keenly as he lusted for her.In return, Joel gave her all a nineteenth-century wife could expect -- aVerity Barforth was an untouched girl of 17 when she was married. She was a woman of 26 when she fell in love.Verity knew well why her handsome, womanizing cousin Joel Barforth wed her. She was heiress to a great Yorkshire weaving mill, and her husband lusted for wealth as keenly as he lusted for her.In return, Joel gave her all a nineteenth-century wife could expect -- a fine home, servants, children, even a growing knowledge of sensual pleasure. Then Verity met a man as different from Joel as day from night -- Crispin Aycliffe, bitter foe of all that her husband represented -- and in his arms she surrendered to the overwhelming, terrifying force of love....
|Number of Pages||:||471 Pages|
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Brenda Jagger is one of the most underrated historical novelists out there. Her forte is Victorian England; she can put her finger exactly on the class struggle of the newly-rich industrialists, the proud aristocrats, and the desperate poor who are forced to coincide in the rough mill towns of the Industrial Revolution. Even more specifically she can put her finger on the desperate soul-searching of well-to-do Victorian girls who got married, were placed on pedestals, and wondered just what the hell they were supposed to do next. "Verity" is just about the best of Jagger's books, following a sixteen-year-old girl who is abruptly married off to her handsome and ambitious cousin Joel, and becomes the ideal wife and mother while tending the problems of various family members. Events such as the Luddite rebellion are woven in meticulously to Verity's personal life, but the book's quiet delight is the heroine's quiet observations on life. Rather than bemoan her situation, Verity is determined to get her way, and does so with such quiet effectiveness that no one notices that the town's most immaculate wife has more secrets than any of them. Not a book for everybody, but if you like Austen, Bronte, or Elizabeth Gaskell, you'll like anything written by Brenda Jagger.
If it hadn't been for the CollegeStudent's 2009 Challenge, I probably would not have read this book for another 10+ years, when I might have chanced upon it in a small used bookstore in a no-name town and bought it because of the title. Having the same obscure name as the main character was a little disconcerting at first, though finally nice to know the feeling of reading one's own name as a character, and more so when it seemed as though our personalities were the same.Thankfully, that is where the similarities end. Shelved under fiction, since I wouldn't call it literature and wasn't light in subject enough to be diverting, it is a story that seems to slowly drag you under it's spell of middle-class families in northern England's industrial towns at the turn of the Victorian era, while at the same time never really saying or doing anything (much like this review). An easy read that leaves you nearly as distempered as Joel Barforth: needing to know what will happen to them.Up to the last 10 pages, I thought I would be left wondering about the characters that I would need to read the other two books in the series to find out...much to my pocketbook's delight, I am contempt to let them remain as they ended.
The first in a series about life in manufacturing England and the rising merchant class.