Title: Florence Grace
Author: Tracy Rees
Genre: Classic Historical Fiction
Source: Purchased after reading Amy Snow
My favourite quote; ‘It was good to head for the hills again. It has been too long since I’d done so. The sky was black as ink and the stars were a milky trail about its arc. There was a full moon that shone down its rivers of pale light and the air was cold and shape; no wine I have ever tasted was as heady.’
After reading ‘Amy Snow’, I immediately went in search of other stories written by Tracy Rees and came across Florence Grace. I didn’t need to read the brief description to know that I would be in favour of her stories and writing style. I wanted more of her historical fiction work and I soon got lost in the pages of Florence Grace.
The free spirited Florrie Buckley was 13 when she experienced another life beyond her own in the beautiful wild moors of Cornwall. With both her parents gone, her only family left is her Nan and close friends surrounding her. When she is offered a chance to earn some coins to help them get by, she isn’t one to pass on the opportunity and heads across her moors to an extravagant house in the village where she meets Sanderson and Turlington. Two wealthy young heirs visiting family from London. Memorised by the fancy clothing, food and the music, she realises how different life could be.
Florrie doesn’t have much, but is very happy with her freedom and refuge of the moors, her basic schooling, Old Rilla and her friends. Before passing, her Nan tells Florrie that she has to leave Cornwall behind her and move to London with her mum’s disinherited family, The Grace’s – who happen to include Sanderson and Turlington. Resentful but knowing that she has nowhere else to go and that she’ll at least know someone in London, she soon leaves Cornwall behind to live with a family she never knew.
Straight away she is forced to live the life of a rich young woman which is a lot harder and unwelcome than expected. Her common speech and Cornish accent aren’t acceptable, her knowledge isn’t vast enough, her behaviour is shocking and her worn out clothes are not welcome. Questions are not to be asked, stockings are worn at all times, and no young woman is to walk outside unaccompanied by a gentleman. The lively strong vibrant Florrie Buckley quickly becomes the miserable stranger that is Florence Grace which is increasingly difficult and claustrophobic. You share her anger and need to feel fresh air again after being thrown into a world she has no interest or likeness in, surrounded by challenging company. She soon understands that she must play the part of Florence in order to get through life as a Grace.
Life comes back into Florrie when she discovers Turlington sneaking into the house in the middle of the night. They soon become dependant friends who rely on each other to get through their days at the estate. The relationship between her and Turlington is a mixture of unexpected feelings of passion and troubled tormented heartbreak. You get so caught up in their relationship that you can’t help but feel that their ‘kindred’ intimacy will find light at the end of the complicated tunnel.
I really enjoyed this story and I’m keen to read more of her books. I think in this instance I preferred Amy Snow, but I would still recommend it to others to read!
Florrie Buckley is an orphan, living on the wind-blasted moors of Cornwall. It’s a hard existence but Florrie is content; she runs wild in the mysterious landscape. She thinks her destiny is set in stone. But when Florrie is fourteen, she inherits a never-imagined secret. She is related to a wealthy and notorious London family, the Graces. Overnight, Florrie’s life changes and she moves from country to city, from poverty to wealth. Cut off from everyone she has ever known, Florrie struggles to learn the rules of this strange new world. And then she must try to fathom her destructive pull towards the enigmatic and troubled Turlington Grace, a man with many dark secrets of his own.