TLC Book Tours: The Valley by Helen Bryan
by Helen Bryan
Lake Union Publishers
Left suddenly penniless, the Honorable Sophia Grafton, a viscount’s orphaned daughter, sails to the New World to claim the only property left to her name: a tobacco plantation in the remote wilds of colonial Virginia. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a handsome young French spy—at gunpoint— she gathers an unlikely group of escaped slaves and indentured servants, each seeking their own safe haven in the untamed New World.
What follows will test her courage and that of her companions as they struggle to survive a journey deep into a hostile wilderness and eventually forge a community of homesteads and deep bonds that will unite them for generations.
The first installment in an epic historical trilogy by Helen Bryan, the bestselling author of War Brides and The Sisterhood, The Valley is a sweeping, unforgettable tale of hardship, tenacity, love, and heartache.
Check out what other readers have to say about this book on the TLC Book Tours page.
About Helen Bryan
Helen Bryan is a Virginia native who grew up in Tennessee. After graduating from Barnard College, she moved to England, where she studied law and was a barrister for ten years before devoting herself to writing full-time.
A member of the Inner Temple, Bryan is the author of four previous books: the World War II novel War Brides; the historical novel The Sisterhood; the biography Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty, which won an Award of Merit from the Colonial Dames of America; and the legal handbook Planning Applications and Appeals. The Valley is the first in a planned trilogy based on her childhood stories of ancestors who settled in Virginia and Maryland before Tennessee became a state.
Bryan resides in London with her family.
Frontier sagas are some of my all-time favorite stories to read. I don't know what it is, the danger, the uncertainty, the hardships our ancestors faced -- it's just all so interesting to me. Of course, I had to jump on the opportunity to read a brand new book that promised just that in a few short lines on the back cover blurb. Unfortunately, I didn't love the book.
It took me half a dozen tries to get through Diana Gabaldon's Outlander and I ended up loving that story and what I've read of the series so far, so I've learned to give thick books a chance. The Valley is a hefty tome, so naturally I thought it was going to take a bit for the action to start and the plot to unfold, but it really never happened. It all felt a bit disjointed. I actually thought that I could like the story since there were fancy gowns, thwarted romances, and tremendous debt, but after the first few hundred pages nothing much happened to show growth in any of the characters. In a story with so many characters, I thought I should have at least cared about what happened to more than one or two of them! Beyond Sophia and mute Malinda, who didn't get nearly enough page time in my opinion, this story lacked characters with depth. I think maybe because there were so many introduced at different points in the story, there wasn't time to really get to know them if that makes sense.
The frontier setting is something that I always like to see in a book and in that sense, The Valley did not disappoint. The picture that Helen Bryan paints of the untamed lands and vastness of the New World are on point and just as I imagine our country to have looked. That said, this book probably isn't one that I will read again, which is sad because there aren't enough stories set in this time period for this history lover.
~ My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars ~
*I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*