Fiction - Mystery - Historical
280 Pages
Reviewed on 12/24/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite

Mary had no idea how her life was about to change when a mysterious man took her from the Barlow home for a midnight ride in a carriage because she "had the look.” What look did she have? The distinct features of the Sommelroux family, more specifically, Felicity, who was to inherit Twillingmarche following her eighteenth birthday and an arranged marriage to her stepbrother, Roland. Mary was to be transformed into a lady and expected to play the role of Felicity in a scheme designed to prevent her American cousin, Roderick, from inheriting. Having fallen instantly in love with Twillingmarche, Mary is eager to comply, playing the part while endearing herself to the estate’s staff. One particular footman had caught her eye, but she would never be able to reveal her feelings until the drama was played out. Will she play her part well enough to prevent anyone from discovering that she is not the real Felicity? Will the hopes of those counting on her to keep the family estate out of the hands of the galling American be dashed?

Vera Mont has penned a rags-to-riches masterpiece with enough intrigue to keep readers in constant angst. In Twillingmarche, you’ll be introduced to realistic characters who either capture your heart or instantly turn you against them. Mont will keep you in the dark from beginning to end, hoping that Mary/Felicity and those who have maintained the great estate for centuries will win. Throughout the story, Mont offers commentary on several themes, like true love winning over marriages of convenience and the grace of a real lady in place of those who put on a good show. Above all, Twillingmarche celebrates the power of the “little people,” who come together to hold onto a dream that rightly belongs to them. Full of suspense, heartwarming, and peppered with humor, you will be captivated from beginning to end by this well-crafted tale.

Edith Wairimu

A page-turning historical mystery set in Edwardian England, Twillingmarche by Vera Mont follows the story of a servant girl who is unexpectedly plucked from servitude and plunged into the opulent world of the upper class. When the Sommelroux family’s solicitor arrives from the Twillingmarche estate and asks Mary to return with him and become a lady’s companion, she cannot believe her luck. Living in Twillingmarche is more than Mary could have asked for. Within the confines of the grand estate, Mary discovers long-held family secrets and learns the family’s history. Her life in Twillingmarche is filled with sudden twists. During her stay, she finds love and forms friendships but her new fascinating life is marred by danger.

Mont beautifully develops the story’s diverse cast of characters and interweaves their lives. The opening scene which involves Mary’s departure from the only life she has ever known is exciting. The surprises in the plot continue to the end, creating an immersive read with exhilarating scenes. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Mary’s life and loved the family saga that is explored. Mont’s vivid descriptions bring Twillingmarche and its residents to life. The splendid home forms the perfect backdrop for the story. I enjoyed the tension that was present from Mary’s arrival in Twillingmarche to her interactions with other family members. Twillingmarche by Vera Mont is an enchanting historical novel that intricately weaves the lives of its characters. It involves a delightful lead character and an entrancing mystery.

Olga Markova

Twillingmarche by Vera Mont is a fascinating mystery unfolding in Edwardian England. We meet Mary, a seventeen-year-old orphan. Overworked, hungry, and tired after the hectic day of nannying the unruly offspring of the Barlow family, Mary overhears a discussion about herself between Mr. Barlow and a classy visitor. The next moment, Mary is summoned to meet the visitor who introduces himself as Elijah Forkes, solicitor to the noble Sommelroux family. The same night, Mary leaves the Barlow household with Mr. Forkes for Twillingmarche, a gorgeous rural mansion where the Sommelroux family resides. At Twillingmarche, Mary is named Felicity and is expected to master the English nobility's language and etiquette in the run-up to her impending engagement. What lies ahead for Mary?

Twillingmarche by Vera Mont is an Edwardian mystery of a superbly high caliber. It offers a fabulously intricate portrayal of the skeletons in the cupboards of the English nobility sprinkled with clean and gentle romance and wonderful humor. One of my favorite examples is “some of the debutantes might even be harboring a brain, though they were careful not to make a show of this.” Each chapter is fast-paced, action-packed, and suspenseful. I also enjoyed how Vera brought every character to life, from a footman to the lady of the manor, balancing detail and subtlety. But most of all, I liked the secrets lurking in every corner of the atmospherically polished Edwardian decorum of Twillingmarche. I highly recommend this fascinating novel to mystery, adventure, romance, and historical fiction fans.

Michelle Robertson

In Twillingmarche by Vera Mont, Mary is a young servant girl in a village in Edwardian England. She spends her time caring for the shopkeeper and his wife’s children, performing the duties that come with a family, business, and household. Exhausted, and about to miss her dinner, she overhears her name in the conversation happening in the next room. After being called into the room herself, she could never have imagined the life-changing events to come. Is she able to become a lady in the estate of Twillingmarche but never reveal the secrets that come with it all?

Twillingmarche is an extraordinarily well-written historical mystery. Vera Mont has gone above and beyond with this novel. The characters are well-developed, and the plot is incredible with its many twists. The dialog accurately represents the era and location in England, and many readers will find this intriguing and exciting, like being transported to a different moment in time. The story shows how a country estate in England may have been run at that time, with its lords, ladies, and servants, and their betrayals, secrets, and drama. I loved this novel. I could not wait to read what twist in the plot was coming next. Just as I thought I had figured the story out, the author introduced something so unexpected, making me continue reading as my curiosity got the better of me. The way bits of information were revealed about each character’s own backstory, a little at a time, was captivating! I found myself saying aloud, “I knew it!" or, "Oh, I can’t believe that happened!” while reading.

Grant Leishman

Twillingmarche by Vera Mont is a fun post-Victorian romp through British aristocracy, with shades of Downton Abbey, which will engage and surprise readers along the way. When Mary, a lowly servant girl, is transported from the drudgery and thanklessness of her existence to pose as the lost daughter of an aristocrat, she enters a world about which she knows nothing, except that it is one of more comfort, ease, and intrigue than she has ever known. The future of the Twillingmarche estate and indeed the hereditary title was at stake, as Mary, now ensconced as Felicity, discovered she was part of a conspiracy to stop the title and lands being usurped by cousin Roderick from America, who claimed to have the right to inherit Twillingmarche. Not only must Felicity learn the ways of a fine young woman, but she must navigate the schemes and plots of the lady of the house, Esmee, and her son Roland, not to mention the hermit-like Aunt Lettie, who lived alone and mysteriously in a separate tower of the great house. Felicity is someone that both Roland and Roderick are desirous to wed to solidify their claims to the property and titles but Felicity has a mind of her own and is determined she will only marry a man she loves, regardless of his social station in life.

Twillingmarche is a mystery that takes some time for the reader to unravel, which is a great part of its appeal. Author Vera Mont has created a wonderful cast of colorful and engaging characters who will capture readers’ attention. This idea of mixing above and below stairs is not a new one but the author gives it some fascinating twists and turns that ultimately lead to a surprising and satisfying unveiling at the conclusion. The setting of the early twentieth century is inspired because it was a period when the great houses and estates of Britain were trying to come to terms with the new economic age and their place in it. The old ways were no longer going to be successful in the coming industrial economy and the aristocracy all across the country were faced with what many felt was an unpalatable choice; change and adapt or die. At Twillingmarche, these changes, through the actions of Felicity, would see the blurring of the lines between “upstairs” and “downstairs” and the understanding that to survive the ideas of the past must be forgotten. The characters are all beautifully overdrawn in the best melodrama fashion, from the brash American branch of the family and their insufferable children to the scheming step-mother Esmee, her rather foppish son Roland, all the servants, right down to the sibling doctor and clergyman. This story takes us deep into the mores, customs, and excesses of the Edwardian England aristocracy and gives us a tale of fun, intrigue, and even a little romance. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read and one I can highly recommend.