Welcome to my day in the Lying with Lions book blog tour. It is my pleasure to introduce you to this Sapphic historical fiction set in the time before and up to WWI.
Thank you to the author, Annabel Fielding for sharing her book with me for an honest review.
Title: Lying with Lions
Author: Annabel Fielding
Genre: Historical fiction, LGTBQ+
Length: 233 pages
Published: 21st of June 2021
Trigger warnings: death, mentions of rape and violence
Edwardian England. Agnes Ashford knows that her duty is threefold: she needs to work on cataloguing the archive of the titled Bryant family, she needs to keep the wounds of her past tightly under wraps, and she needs to be quietly grateful to her employers for taking her up in her hour of need. However, a dark secret she uncovers due to her work thrusts her into the Bryants’ brilliant orbit – and into the clutch of their ambitions.
They are prepared to take the new century head-on and fight for their preeminent position and political survival tooth and nail – and not just to the first blood. With a mix of loyalty, competence, and well-judged silence Agnes rises to the position of a right-hand woman to the family matriarch – the cunning and glamorous Lady Helen. But Lady Helen’s plans to hold on to power through her son are as bold as they are cynical, and one day Agnes is going to face an impossible choice…
My thoughts about the book
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I would be getting into when I began reading this book. I don’t have a lot of experience in historical fiction, but I do enjoy me some queer fiction. This isn’t a book about big feelings and grand gestures – at least not directly. A lot of stuff is unsaid, hinted at – much as I would expect a woman-loving-woman relationship would be in the Edwardian England. Or perhaps just…pre-Ellen Degeneres coming out + before we knew how she actually acted ^^;
Things are subtle and not explained directly. Agnes starts out as an archivist – standing in the back and not attracting any attention. But, there’s someone she is very much infatuated with, who’s attention she very much craves. Lady Helen Bryant. Beautiful, elegant, older and more experienced.
- How history is woven into the story – I’m no historian, and don’t know much about English history, but for me, it was well-written and I could sense the work that the Fielding has put into her writing. Again, I don’t know how accurate the events are, but there’s definitely been put a lot of thought into this story
- The relationship between Agnes and the other characters
- The relationship between Agnes and Lady Helen
- I don’t know. I just really like the young, intelligent and quiet woman observing her surroundings played off with the older experienced woman who knows the game
The not so good
- Some of the spelling and grammar. It wasn’t so bad as to throw me completely off from the reading experience, but I do notice it.
who should read this book?
If you’re a person that enjoys historical fiction with a pinch of drama, sapphic love, and the thrill of working between the noble families. Think Downton Abbey, but not as outwardly emotional and with more woman-loving-woman 😉
About the author: Annabel Fielding
Taken from her own page at http://historygeekintown.com
I am a self-professed geek who lives in Berlin, and is dedicated a little too much to reading historical non-fiction; I pick out the juiciest bits from it and bring them to you.
My special areas of interest are Edwardian age and Late Middle Agnes/Renaissance, but sometimes I veer into other directions, too, when distracted by a shiny thing.
Happy reading ❤