Roeing Oaks by Kristina Emmons
Paperback, 271 pages
Self-Published – Kristina Emmons
September 8, 2010
Source: Received from Author for Review
“In 1870 England, stolen inheritances were not unheard of among aristocratic circles, but one subject was best kept to the dim, brotherly confines of a gentleman’s club: selling one’s wife.Roeing Oaks is very much a coming-of-age novel for Kate. Kate has always known herself to be a farm worker and house maid for the wealthy estate owner. However, when her mother reveals to her that they are really from the upper class and that she was sold at a wife auction – Kate’s whole life changes. Not only does she have to figure out where she fits in this world, where she really belongs, but she finds herself having feelings for a couple different men in her life and has to determine how to handle that. She has to learn who she can trust – even those within her family. She is very quickly thrust into a whole new world where she is a fish out of water and essentially alone.
Lady Percy, with baby Kate barely formed inside of her, is unexpectedly taken to London’s notorious East End and auctioned off like cattle by her husband, a baron. Her only recourse is to go with the highest bidder. She is taken to live on a farm, where she keeps the truth from Kate for sixteen years.
Upon learning the truth, Kate desires reinstatement with her estranged family. She risks everything to walk the divide between two worlds, searching for a doorway into her birthright. But lies and law barricade the divide at both ends, and Kate finds herself trapped in a purgatory.
If anyone can come to her aide it is her beloved Mr. Roeing. Or will he cower behind a barricade with the others?”
Roeing Oaks is also part Victorian caper. There is the story of wife auctioning and how to prove that this did or did not happen, how to convince their wealthy family that the rumors told about them are not true, how to make all the wrongs right. Everyone is out for themselves and has ulterior motives. You even have to look out for those that you trust.
As I first started reading this book I felt a little out of the loop. Kate and her mother were talking about things that had happened prior to the book, but didn’t give you the complete story. Then, as the rest of the story began to unfold, I could see how those early references fit in. I really loved how the author characterized Kate – she is so believable as a naïve maid, but she learns as she goes.
I was a little shocked at the topic: wife auctioning during the Victorian age in England. I could believe this happening in less developed countries or at an earlier date in England, but this is supposed to be a sort of enlightened period. I think that this makes the story all the more intriguing because you want to see how it will all work out. There is a suggestion at the end of the novel that there might be a sequel in the works and I hope there is because I would love to see more of these great characters.
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