From the first few lines of, “An Independent Woman,” I knew that I would enjoy this book. The scene of a poor area of London is set, the clothing is of the Victorian era and Philomena, the heroine has our sympathy as she is already threatened by an evil foe.
The fast moving plot involves Philomena’s need to escape. Disguising herself and taking only a tiny portrait of an unknown woman, she boards one of the open-topped railway carriages bound for a new life in Bristol. But there is a dramatic change of circumstances when the train crashes in the Berkshire countryside. Philomena finds herself in the upstairs, downstairs world of Lord Thatcham, tempted by the hint of passion but convinced that she must escape once again.
The tortured soul of Hugh, Lord Thatcham is complex yet believable. His feelings of guilt and duty are at odds with his need for love and his interest in, “modern,” technology. Philomena also has a dark secret which she believes denies her any chance of happiness. Yet they share a common enemy who could unite them or dash their hopes for ever.
This beautifully written story contains all the ingredients for a successful historical romance, including separation and misunderstanding. The minor characters are warm or evil and the historical details accurate and particularly interesting. A thoroughly good read.