I have such a nice cover for my book which I can't find anywhere so you will have to be happy with this rather stark one.
My first reading of as I know now, this very prolific author. We have the tale of romance, almost unbelievable. Sir Geoffrey presumed dead all these years returns to Sybilla his faithful wife with Tana a concubine from a harem. She saved his life and in return he helped her to escape the harem. This little tidbit is not revealed but she is later described as a Spanish lady of means with a blurred history.
He is welcomed by his family - his sons all scattered, his daughter only seeking love from anyone around and Sybilla who accepts his story without a murmur. A little while later Sybilla is pregnant and bears a son and Tana bears a daughter. It is here the story actually comes into play because Joanna and Robert become more or less the focal point of the story.
The survival of the Tallboys family- the importance of land, increasing one's ownership of more and more arable land which is the early focus of the book, the difficult life for second and third sons who have nothing to look forward to as a patrimony and have to find a way of living (not easy when one has got accustomed to live a life of leisure) and how Joanna survives everyone who is trying to put her down make for an interesting book.
This book which is part of a triology which I would dearly like to read (and it will be sheer good luck to find) deals with a particular family and the tribulations, happiness and sorrows that follow them.
Writing historical fiction, keeping within the actual facts of history Lofts also is able to go into detail about this particular family - and at the same time give us a very good idea of what conditions were like in England at the time - both from a broad as well as a domestic level. This is what made it interesting for me. I love the trivial bits of information how households were run and the enormous capabilities of good housewives whose worth was immeasurable for the successful running of a home. The training of young girls was not just a fad, but a necessity for survival as it was on them that the entire structure of the home lay. It was not just the cooking, and the cleaning, but the stillroom, the animals, the preservation of food, and even the making of cloth and all clothing and furnishings were their responsibility. Modern women have nothing to complain about!
A very interesting author and one whose books I am going to search for.