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Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite
By referring to entries in the diary of her ancestor, Lucy, and other family members, Elizabeth St. John has recreated a beautiful story of love, family values, and empowered women in By Love Divided: The Lydiard Chronicles. After the tragic death of her husband, Lucy Apsley is left alone to raise her four children: Allen, Luce, James, and Barbara. With a delay in the hearing of probate of her late husband, Lucy's troubles appear to be endless. As she fights to get what is rightfully hers, there is a man who promises her love and support. Ignoring her instincts, she marries the man and suffers the consequences. Amidst all these troubles, there is a political storm in the background that will force her beloved children to stand against each other. Would the love that she instilled in her children bring them back together?
By Love Divided: The Lydiard Chronicles flows beautifully. There is no rush in the storytelling. Elizabeth St. John familiarizes readers with the characters of this historical fiction. Lucy's children have different personalities; they challenge one another, yet their love binds them together. The intellectual debates among the characters were my favorite since they shed a brilliant light on the diverse perspectives of the people of those days. Although I was supporting parliament right from the beginning of the conflict, Allen's insight into the royalist cause helped develop an understanding of the other side.
Luce is my favorite character. I must commend the author for the profound conversations that she has written for her. Luce is opinionated and intelligent. Her words are her power, which she uses to voice her beliefs without fearing the audience. Barbara's fun spirit shone brightly, even when the plot was heavy with civil war. I could go on and on about the magnificent characters and the excellent execution of the author, but I do not wish to give away any spoilers. In short, reading By Love Divided: The Lydiard Chronicles by Elizabeth St. John has been a pleasure. I learned a lot about that time of history when royals went head-on against parliament.