About the Book:
An unforgettable romance set in Victorian England, Bride of A Distant Isle is the engrossing story of Annabel Ashton, who fights to save her family home and her mother's honor while trying to figure out if the man she loves wants her—or just wants to use her to achieve his own ambitions.
Miss Annabel Ashton is a teacher at the Rogers School for Young Ladies in Winchester when she takes a brief visit to her family home, Highcliffe Hall at Milford-on-Sea. She believes her stay will be short but soon learns that she will not be returning to the safety of the school. Instead, she remains at Highcliffe, at the mercy of her cousin, Edward Everedge.
Annabel protests, but as the illegitimate daughter of a woman who died in an insane asylum, she has little say. Edward is running out of money and puts the house up for sale to avoid financial ruin. He insists that Annabel marry, promising her to a sinister, frightening man. But as the house gets packed for sale, it begins to reveal disquieting secrets. Jewelry, artifacts, and portraits mysteriously appear, suggesting that Annabel may be the true heir of Highcliffe.
She has only a few months to prove her legitimacy, perhaps with assistance from the handsome but troubled Maltese Captain Dell’Acqua. But does he have Annabel’s best interests at heart?
And then, a final, most ominous barrier to both her inheritance and her existence appears: a situation neither she nor anyone else could have expected. Will Annabel regain her life and property—and trust her heart—before it’s too late?
“You are not mute in the dark, Father, though I may not always be able to see Your hand or recognize Your servants, or who they are, at work. You’ve never left me. You’ve never forsaken nor forgotten me.” (p. 347)
At the point Annabelle has this revelation, she is walking completely by faith! She has gone through some rather hellish things, and her life is still filled with uncertainty. However, she has discovered the only sure foundation, and chooses to stand on that truth regardless of her circumstance.
This is also the point in the novel when many secrets have come to light, and Annabelle finds herself at a crossroads. All choices have consequence, and she must choose what direction her future will take. Although this novel is set in the mid 1850’s, the truth of the condition of the human heart without Christ is the same as it is in the 21st century. Greed, covetousness, pride, addiction…it’s all there. I found the scariest fact in the story to be how many people were committed to insane asylums with no hope of healing or relief. Abandoned to die, basically. That is scary!
Annabelle was facing this very thing, all because of a wicked, insidious heart that longed to have things that never belonged to their world. This is a beautiful, dangerous story that has, at its heart, a redemptive message. True, not all stories ended well in this novel, but the endings faced were realistic and true.
This is a novel that will make you think deeply about your own faith, but will also make you grateful that insane asylums are no longer the go-to solution to every imaginable situation! An excellent story indeed!! I highly recommend this novel!
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