This is the story of two people, Elspet Leviston, responsible daughter of a lace dealer in Jacobean London and Zachary Deane, the illegitimate son of a poor Spanish woman whose bullying brothers have taught him to lie and steal. When Elspet’s father suddenly brings Zachary into their household, usurping her position in the family business, she is horrified and as a dutiful daughter considers marriage to an apparently pleasant suitor. Her relief when Zachary sets off on a grand tour is swiftly removed on her father’s sudden death and her world turns upside down when she hears the conditions of his will.
From the calm everyday life in London, where only the need to conceal their Catholic faith disturbs them, Elspet sets out across Europe to find Zachary and sort out her future. Meanwhile, Zachary is discovering his true purpose in life, studying with Senor Alvarez, a Master of Fencing. It is difficult to like Zachary at first but easy to understand him and as the plot develops so does his character. Elspet also changes when she reaches Spain. Her circumstances deteriorate and her way of life is completely different but the charismatic Senor Alvarez also guides her future. And then she and Zachary find themselves caught up in the terrible expulsion of the Moriscos, the Moors who had settled in Seville.
Deborah Swift’s historical research is impeccable, grounding this unusual story in the troubled world of early 17th century Spain and questioning the role of women and the place of religion in society but this is not a learned tome. It is an exciting, passionate story, full of vibrant, realistic characters and thrilling events. I could not put this book down!
You can find A Divided Inheritance on AmazonUK
I live in North Lancashire on the edge of the Lake District, an area made famous by the Romantic Poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge. I’m a bookaholic and I read widely – contemporary and classic fiction as well as historical novels.
In the past I used to work as a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, so I enjoy the research aspect of creating historical fiction, something I loved doing as a scenographer. Each book takes about six months of research before I am ready to begin writing.