By Love Divided
by Elizabeth St. John
Publication Date: October 12, 2017
eBook & Paperback; 381 Pages
Series: The Lydiard Chronicles, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction
Royalist Sir Allen Apsley thinks his choice is clear, but when his mother embraces the Puritan cause, and his beloved sister Luce falls in love with John Hutchinson, a Roundhead soldier, his loyalties are tested. Is it family first? Is it country first? As England falls into bloody civil war, Allen must fight for king and country, while Luce embraces Parliament’s radical views and confronts the very core of the family’s beliefs. And when their influential Villiers cousins raise the stakes, Allen and Luce face a devastating challenge. Will war unite or divide them? In the dawn of rebellion, love is the final battleground.
Based on surviving memoirs, court papers and letters of Elizabeth St.John’s family, By Love Divided continues the story of Lucy St.John, The Lady of the Tower. This powerfully emotional novel tells of England’s great divide, and the heart-wrenching choices one family faces.
“I am completely blown away by Elizabeth St. John’s follow up novel, By Love Divided. The depth of her characterization, the elegance of her prose (and dialogue) and the masterful way in which she presents the realities of the English Civil War such that we’re bleeding for both sides is nothing short of brilliant. If you want a compelling, exquisitely written story to immerse you in the past, By Love Divided is a must read! I consider it one of my favourite historical reads and it’s earned a place on my keeper shelf! 5 plus stars!” -Cryssa Bazos, Author of The Traitor’s Knot
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Lucy Apsley's children are grown and her best friend and husband is dead. They are forced out of their home in the Tower of London and have to face the debts left by Allen Apsley when he funded the King's cause. Lucy attempts to keep herself out of debt and her family together by marrying a Puritan, however, Leventhrope Franke is more interested in the collection of Lucy's debts. Lucy's son, Allen decides to take up the life Lucy left behind in the Courts and befriends his cousin, Edward Villiers. Allen's loyalties are soon tied to King Charles I and Allen becomes a soldier and strategist for the Crown. Meanwhile, Allen's sister, Luce has found love with John, who sides with the Parliamentary cause. When the King begins a civil war, the Apsley family is divided in their loyatlities, but together in their love for one another.
This is a wonderful continuation of The Lady of The Tower. Written by a descendant of the Apsley family and using their journals, By Love Divided provides a unique and insightful look into the English Civil War through the eyes of a real family during the time. Unlike The Lady of the Tower, this story focuses more on Lucy's children, though Lucy is still a driving force within the family and the glue that is desperately trying to hold them together. I didn't really know much about the English Civil War and it was very interesting to me to see the sides unfold from within and how the Apsley family dealt with loyalties on both sides. Of course, one of the most interesting characters from The Lady of The Tower, Lucy's sister Barbara makes an appearance and uses her influence with the King to help the Apsley's while still maintaining her hatred for her sister. Through Allen and John's eyes I was able to see the war clearly from both the Royalist and Parliamentary sides. The love within the Apsley family was the shining star throughout the story and I can't wait to read about what the Apley's accomplish next.
This book was received in exchange for an honest review.
Elizabeth St.John was brought up in England and lives in California. To inform her writing, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, and Castle Fonmon to the Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them – in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story…
By Love Divided, Elizabeth’s sequel to The Lady of the Tower, follows the fortunes of the St.John family during the English Civil War, and is out now.
For more information, please visit Elizabeth St. John’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.