|| Book Review || The Master of Measham Hall by Anna Abney || #MasterOfMeashamHall @MDewhurst3 @DuckBooks @RandomTTours

|| Book Review || The Master of Measham Hall by Anna Abney ||

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Age category: Adult

Release Date: July 15th 2021

My Rating:✨✨✨✨

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1665. It is five years since King Charles II returned from exile, the scars of the English Civil Wars are yet to heal and now the Great Plague engulfs the land. Alethea Hawthorne is safe inside the walls of the Calverton household as a companion to their daughter. She waits in anticipation of her brother William’s pardon for killing a man in a duel before they can both return to their ancestral home in Measham Hall.

But when Alethea suddenly finds herself cast out on the streets of London, a long road to Derbyshire lies ahead of her. Militias have closed their boroughs off to outsiders for fear of contamination. Fortune smiles on her when Jack appears, an unlikely travelling companion who helps this determined country girl to navigate a perilous new world of religious dissenters, charlatans and a pestilence that afflicts peasants and lords alike.

Anna Abney’s immersive debut is a fast-paced, multi-layered novel that intimately explores the social and religious divides at the heart of the Restoration period.


It is England but not as we know it. It is 1665 and the plague is running rampant across the country.

As we all know (like we could forget) we are currently living in a pandemic world so we all know the feeling of being suspicious and wary of people we don’t know.

Obviously times are very different now but I couldn’t help but relate to the characters in this book and what they were going through as neighbours and entire communities become suspicious of newcomers and outsiders, especially those coming from London where the dead and dying fill the streets.

In this novel we follow young Alethea from Derbyshire, a companion to a young Lady Calverton.

Alethea awaits news of her brother’s return to England after he was exiled and then pardoned for taking part in a duel.

Lady Calverton is a jealous woman and tricks Alethea into leaving their home to reunite with her brother who has finally re-entered the country.

Alethea soon discovers this not to be the case and returns to the Calverton’s home only to find them all gone, fleeing the plague.

Alone and penniless Alethea is forced to try to make her way home to Derbyshire on foot. Alethea is quickly set upon by a plagued man and rescued by a young man who ends up becoming a loyal friend and travelling companion.

Together they try to make their way home but they come across many road blocks which lead them to turn backwards and into the company of a kind, highly religious family. They end up travelling as a group and the community feel is really lovely.

The time spent with the group changes Alethea’s way of thinking and has her question everything she was told growing up, particularly her religious beliefs. I really enjoyed the way this book explored religion and the way it divided people in these times, particularly the way people looked down upon those of the Catholic faith.

During her time here she also embarks upon a romance with a particular member of the camp and this in itself was very interesting but I won’t go into the details why for fear of spoiling a big part of the story.

The story sets quite a slow pace in the beginning and middle parts while Alethea travels and discovers herself. It really picks up in the latter parts when she finally makes her way to her home of Measham Hall and everything she expected to find there was gone.

She had to become someone else entirely to restore her home to what it once was by taking on a different identity which I did not expect at all.

Alethea is a very compelling character who is intelligent, brave and who completely hoodwinks everyone for lack of a better term.

I enjoyed her character and the way she grew as a person and how firmly she stuck to her guns, determined to be who she wanted to be and do what she wanted to do.

Overall I felt this was a fascinating novel, beautifully written and obviously thoroughly researched. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to seeing what comes next.



Read The Master of Measham Hall if you like…


— Well researched Historical Fiction

— Strong female lead & character growth

— Forbidden romance and heartbreak

— Books about England in the 1600’s



Author biography
Anna Abney is among the last descendants of the Abney family, former residents of
Measham Hall, a lost house of Derbyshire. The Master of Measham Hall trilogy is a
fictionalised account of her ancestors’ lives. An academic in the English and Creative
Writing department at the Open University, she wrote her PhD on the seventeenth
century writer, Margaret Cavendish, the first English woman to be published in her
own name. Her writing includes fiction, journalism and drama. Anna was born and
raised in London, lived in Ireland, North and South, for thirteen years before returning
to the Big Smoke. She now lives in rural Kent with her husband, a playwright and
screenwriter, and their border-collie.

Have you read this book? Do you want to? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s discuss! ♥

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