Lady Elizabeth “Libby” Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn’t favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage’s former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished.
Oliver Tremayne–gentleman and clergyman–is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he’s happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth’s summer cottage . . . especially when he realizes it’s the curious young lady he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can’t quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.
As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love.
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I have been eagerly anticipating this book since the moment I first heard about it, not only was the blurb intriguing, White’s stories seem to gain depth with each subsequent release. In other words: going into the reading of this story, I had extremely high expectations. Shockingly, my expectations were met in almost every single way.
To begin, I must start with the incredible setting: the Isles of Scilly. After reading White’s largely British war stories, I was thrilled to experience a new setting through her words. Unsurprisingly, the Isles did not disappoint; White truly chose the perfect place to set her newest trilogy. To put it simply: the Isles are stunning and White brought them to life as the characters explored. While I read The Nature of A Lady I could almost smell the ocean and feel the cool breezes messing with my hair, the true marks of a wonderful setting.
“Names…they matter to us. They shape our souls in ways I’ve never fully understood. But have you pondered the power of them?” – White
White has quite a few characters placed on my constantly growing mental list of all-time favorite characters, but this story yielded only one addition, a fact I was slightly disappointed by. That said, the entire cast of characters was solid, intriguing and lovable.
Libby, formally known as Lady Elizabeth Sinclair, is a lovely character. She is a rare person who is adventurous while cautious, and smart but quite humble. Libby’s fascination with nature, as well as her struggle to reconcile the physical world that she understands with the existence of a mysterious and present God, was deeply human and relatable. Despite the fact that Libby could have been a typical not-like-the-other-girls character, the ease with which she settled into island life saved her. For all of her strengths, and the fact that Libby grew on me as the story developed and as she grew as a person, I never fully clicked with her.
“I think….I could spend the rest of my life here and never miss the mainland for a moment.”
Only when [Libby] spoke the words did she realize how true they were. Perhaps it was a strange sentiment, given how much of the week had been spent indoors hiding from the rain. But every time she’d stepped outside, be it to the beach or into charming little Hugh Town, or onto the boat that had ferried them from St. Mary’s to Tresco this morning, that same sense of contentment had overtaken her.” – White
Oliver, the second MC, is a solid character: sweet, strong and deeply kind. He is the type of character who anyone would be glad to have as a friend in real life. I appreciated his character growth in relation to his relationship with Casek, and Libby truly was the perfect match for him. But as I spent some time thinking over how I felt about Oliver, I realized that his strength – the type of character he is – was also his weakness; Oliver walks the line between being a humanly solid character and an unrealistically perfect character.
As I said above, Libby and Oliver bring out the best in each other; both characters were better for their relationship. I honestly wish that they had received slightly more of a certain future, but as it is, I am eagerly awaiting seeing them grow together in the rest of the trilogy.
As far as secondary characters go, White more than fulfilled my expectations. Mabena, Casek, Beth, Lady Emily and Mamm-wyn were all wonderful. I could easily read a book about each and every one of them and their unique stories.
“The morning air carried a chill in it that Libby hadn’t anticipated, but one that made her smile even as she suppressed a shiver. Sunlight, soft as a kiss, shot the mist through with gold, encircling the island with a promise of another beautiful day.” – White
On another topic: as I have previously mentioned, one of my favorite things about reading White’s books is seeing the depth of her writing increase from book to book. In many ways, this trend continued in The Nature of A Lady and I loved finding pieces of beautiful and noteworthy prose scattered throughout the book.
In The Nature of A Lady, White crafted an interesting and fresh plot. Many Elizabeths, buried treasure, pirate stories and dark caves combined to create a suspenseful and addictive story.
“Perhaps you weren’t perfectly adapted to the environs into which you were born, Libby. But that doesn’t mean He made a mistake in where He put you. It means only that He set you on a journey, like any other migratory creature who needs different settings for different seasons. He led you here.” – White
Sadly, although I could easily write more about this lovely story, I must bring this review to a close. I hope that my thoughts on this story made you curious, after all there are many wonderful things that I barely mentioned.
I received a complimentary copy this book from the publishers. I was not required to provide a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Check out more information about Roseanna & this lovely story, here. [And be sure to google the Isles of Scilly, the pictures are stunning. :)]
Have you read this book? Have you read any of White’s books? Do you have a favorite author?