Cover Image: A Widow's Vow

A Widow's Vow

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Louisa's arrival in Bath doesn't go smoothly especially when she discovers that the house she has inherited comes with rather more problems than she anticipated. With rising debts, Louisa and her companion, Nancy, decide to return to their old profession and open the Bath town house as an exclusive brothel. They enlist the help of the enigmatic fighter, Jacob Jackson , to offer them protection.

The author writes well and the story entertains from the beginning bringing the Victoria underbelly of Bath society to life in an altogether different sort of way. I expected there to be more about the intimacies of the brothel and was pleasantly surprised that the author didn't go into explicit detail, instead leaving more to the imagination of what went on behind the brothel bedroom doors.  The story focuses on the close relationship between Louisa and her 'girls', the problems they have in trying to build up their reputation, and the growing friendship between Louisa and Jacob. Jacob's story is an interesting addition, he's a solid and dependable figure, and yet his penchant for violence is shown in the particularly shadowy world of fist fights and drinking dens.

Filled with an air of mystery and with a smattering of romance A Widow's Vow is an interesting start to a new Victorian saga series. The ending was entirely appropriate and lends itself very nicely towards the next story in the saga, which I hope won't be too long away.
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This is the first novel I’ve read by this author, but it certainly won’t be the last!

Set in the early 19th century between the cities of Bath and Bristol, ‘A Widow’s Vow’ is an engrossing historical tale with strong characters that immediately draw the reader into their lives.

Louisa and Jacob are particularly compelling. Hardened to life by their own early experiences, they both nevertheless have an inner drive for survival and an instinct to help those in need. As fate draws them closer together, it seems they have more in common than even they anticipated.

A must- read for fans of historical fiction. I eagerly await the next novel in the series!
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5☆ A Gripping, Endearing and Highly Compelling Historical Romance, I couldn't Put Down!

A Widow's Vow is an Endearing, Gritty, Compelling and highly Absorbing Historical Romance of friendship, love and new beginnings.

Louisa and her best friend Nancy live with Louisa's husband Anthony.
Anthony rescued them both from the life of prostitution and working in the Brothel. 
He gave then both a better life, but he had many secrets!

Anthony committed suicide, leaving Louisa in loads of debt, and a house in Bath.

But when Louisa and Nancy leave their home in Bristol, to move into their new home, they find all is not what it seems, and their first order of business is to get rid of a very unwelcome guest!

Second order of business, work out how they are going to turn their life skills to their advantage, and the only way they know how. To turn their home into a Den of Iniquity. But this time Louisa will be the Madame.

Louisa is a shrewd businesswoman and doesn't take no nonsense, but she's extremely loyal, kind, caring and has a big heart.
So when she meets the endearingly strong and rugged Jacob Jackson, former Boxer, she knows that she must and will have him working for her. Even if it means prising him away from the only life he knows.

I absolutely loved Louisa and Jacob.
The chemistry between them is electric from the start. If only they could both see it.
Both from troubled backgrounds and complex characters they really are made for one another.

I can't praise this book enough, I love Historical Romances especially set in places which I know and love.
Brimble is one of my favourite Authors, her books are always Engrossing, Authentic, Gripping, Richly Atmospheric and I find myself being swept up into the heart of her stories.
She always creates such endearing, strong and loveable Characters. They remind me of Catherine Cookson and Danielle Steel books, two of my all time favourite Authors.

So if you are looking for a new series and love Historical Romances set in 1850s, that once you pick it up, you will be reading long into the night, then I highly recommend reading this Captivating Story!

Thank you to Rachel Random Resources for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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A Widow’s Vow is the first book in a gripping and gritty new Victorian saga series, The Ladies of Carson Street, by Rachel Brimble.

After being rescued from prostitution Louisa Hill was enjoying life as a married woman living in Bristol. That is until a policeman came to her door to inform her that her husband was dead. He had hung himself and left a note and a key to a property in Bath that he said belonged to her. The house in Bristol had already been sold and some of her husband's many debts had been paid off with the proceeds. All that was left for Louisa was to move to Bath with her dearest friend, Nancy. Knowing that she couldn't make ends meet, including the running of the house, Louisa decides to turn her house into an upmarket brothel where only upper-class gentlemen will be allowed admittance. To ensure that she and her 'girls' would be protected she hires a well known and feared boxer, Jacob Jackson.

Jacob makes a living from boxing, it's the perfect way to make money and help control the anger that is his constant companion. He blames himself for not being able to save his mother from being killed at his father's hands. He keeps himself to himself and is resigned to the fact that he will always be alone. 

Jacob and Louisa feel an instant attraction to each other, one that for their own reasons they both try to ignore. The longer they spend together though the more their feelings grow towards each other. Will they be able to put aside their fears and doubts and give in to their emotions or will they just remain employer and employee?

This was a truly captivating story with such wonderful characters. It was a nice change to read a book where the women in the brothel weren't ashamed of what they did. I loved Louisa's strength and determination, but also that when she needs help she isn't too proud to ask for it. What she goes through in this story is heartbreaking but to see her overcoming adversity is very uplifting and makes what could be a depressing storyline anything but that. I enjoyed this story and am very much looking forward to the next in the series.
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Rich in atmosphere, passion and emotion, Rachel Brimble’s A Widow’s Vow is a heart-wrenching saga of survival, courage and healing from a master storyteller.

Louisa Hill has always being grateful to her husband Anthony for rescuing her from the streets and giving her a home to call her own. Although theirs was a marriage of convenience, Louisa had been somewhat content with this arrangement – even if she always struggled with the feeling that she wasn’t quite good enough for Anthony and that she was constantly having to atone for her past. Yet, Louisa knows that life could be much worse for her. With a home of her own in Bristol and the veneer of respectability, Louisa feels safe for the first time in a very long while – until the rug is pulled out from underneath her when a policeman turns up at her door with shocking news: Anthony had killed himself and left her widowed. Louisa thinks that she cannot possibly take any more bad news, but when the debt collectors come calling, she realises that her safe and secure world will never be the same again.

With next to no money to her name and only the house in Bath left to her by her dead husband to call her own, Louisa must once more find a way to survive – and this means going back to her old life. But this time she will do it on her own terms. She will call the shots and be the one in charge. Nobody in her brothel for upper class gentleman will harm her or her girls and with notorious boxer Jacob Jackson watching over the house, Louisa hopes that her new enterprise will be a success. With everything riding on her new business, failure is simply not an option for Louisa. But will she manage to forge ahead in this new path? Or will she end up losing everything all over again?

Rachel Brimble’s A Widow’s Vow is a captivating historical saga set in Victorian times that draws readers in from the first page with its intoxicating blend of beguiling storytelling, richly drawn characters, searing emotional drama and poignant romance. Rachel Brimble has a wonderful gift for bringing the past to life on the page and the period details in her story are evocative and beautifully drawn and really make the reader feel as if she is experiencing the story alongside the book’s characters.

Rachel Brimble’s A Widow’s Vow is a compelling tale about resilience, renewal and love that saga fans will struggle to put down.
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Plunged into Victorian Bath, you get to see a section of society which is not often featured. An underclass of prostitutes and shady characters co-exist alongside the prosperous middle classes and at times, on the surface, are indistinguishable from the respectable citizens. This is the first in a trilogy and you are introduced to three women who are all surviving despite everything. A Widow's Vow centres on Louisa and Jacob who both have huge trust issues, following difficult childhoods.

Because of her past life, Louisa is determined to retain her independence and to set up a brothel which she will run in the interests of its staff. The three women, Louisa, Nancy and Octavia form a tight household, a surrogate family even and I am sure that future books will shed more light on their backgrounds. This is an enjoyable historical novel which has a strong sense of time and place and which poses some interesting questions about the place of women in society, their right to establish their own lives as individuals, rather than as goods 'owned' by men.

In short: Sharply drawn characters and a great sense of the period.
Thanks to Aria for a copy of the book
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This is actually one of only a small few I've read where the leading lady is actually...well to put it delicately, though the book does not mince words...a lady of the night, or rather was, and is forced to be once more.

You see, Louisa was rescued from a brothel by her husband nary four years prior, and until the very day this novel starts, knew kindness, if not love.  She had a roof over her head, no madam to answer to, one man to which she was promised, and her best friend by her side.  What more could a woman want?  Perhaps, the truth...the very beginning of which comes to light when a constable comes calling, dreaded news is delivered, and that new life she'd barely become accustomed to is threatened in so many ways.  Thing is, she and her friend are resilient.  They will do what is necessary to ensure they are never in the same positions they were before...even if that means turning to those tricks of their own volition.  It will be on their terms to ensure their future...but the path before them is dangerous and before long, others are included in their makeshift family.  One with a past not so far from Louisa's own, and the other fighting his way through life as he lets his past dictate his future.  Together, through a seemingly ill advised plan, they will risk it all...including their hearts.

I was actually surprised by how much I loved the characters because the story line was giving me fits along the way.  It's not that I was judging them, they did what they needed to do, and seeing it through their eyes made you respect them more for it, but it's certainly one that if you can't suspend your own beliefs about the subject matter, it might not be a perfect match for you.  That being said, it's handled tastefully, no intimate scenes in actual detail of that nature though again their trade is not minced in words between themselves or simply on the page, as the author chose to focus more on the mental and emotional turmoil it caused the characters having to turn to this in the first place and what darkness first landed them there.

The only drawbacks I experienced where a small hole or two along the story line, a desire for a more complete ending, and a name mentioned that I'm daring to say was probably fixed between the eARC and the final edition.  So ultimately, it was an unusually charming read with a cast you won't be able to turn away from despite your actual feelings about what they carry on at because through their eyes, you can see the greener side of things, the determination to be self sufficient, the desire to not be under another's control, and that in doing what they do, it could possibly afford them those ends.

Recommended for Historical Fiction fans that desire a leading lady with a backbone of steel, a leading man with firsts of fury, and an unexpected sharing of two hearts of gold.
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A Widow’s Vow by Rachel Brimble is a Victorian-era romance novel set in 1851 England. The book begins with a little background on Louisa and her companion Nancy; former prostitutes plucked from a degrading life by Louisa’s husband, Anthony. Upon his suicide, revealed secrets force them back into the brothel business. However, this time, it’s on Louisa’s terms.

Bare-knuckle boxer Jacob is hired as a bodyguard, and the mutual attraction between him and Louisa is instantaneous. He fights a severe battle with his demons from the past, trying to overcome the murder of his mother. The 1850s were are difficult era to be a woman on her own or a man without credentials.

While this is a romance novel, the story is much more about friendship, karma, and kindness. I believe readers of many genres will enjoy the story as it has something for everyone included. This page-turner will draw you into the story with the vividly described scenes and well-developed characters.

I was a little disappointed when I came to the end of the book until I realized it is book one in a new series from Rachel Brimble. I’m looking forward to reading more about Louisa, Jacob, Nancy, and Octavia. I think the next story will be even more entertaining.
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Do I love Historical Romances? You guys know I do. This isn't my first Rachel Brimble's novel, and I was very excited to read this book, since it's the start of a new series.

A Victorian saga… "A Widow's Vow" follows Louisa Hill and Jacob Jackson in an unique story. I was quite surprised when I read the synopsis and I loved the plot once I read the story. It's not a story we would expect, and Rachel Brimble did a brilliant job in creating a setting and storyline that allowed us to connect to the characters.

Louisa is amazing. I loved her determination and kindness. Jacob… I was quite fascinated by him and by his personality. They both have a past that is full of hardship and ugliness, still fate has a different path for them. Reading their interactions and the way their relationship developed was lovely.

Then there are all the other characters that gave the plot and the MC strength. Nancy was a character also love. Her and Louisa's friendship made me so happy. But honestly, I can't wait to read the next books and see how Nancy's story is going to unfold, and I really want to learn more the other character and their pasts, lives and dreams.

Overall, it was a perfect start of a series. An unique story about the struggles in life, as well as the determination we must have to accomplish our goals. A Romance that made my heart warm up. Characters that I could connect with and that made me want to get to know them more with each page. A book that has dark and light, because that's life.

[I want to thank Rachel, at Rachel’s Random Resources, Rachel Brimble for the eCopy of this book. Thank you for allowing me to join in the fun and being a part of the blog tour with my honest review of the book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.]
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Although this isn’t a regency romance, it is set in those times. Why isn’t it a regency romance if it’s set in that time?

Because neither of the characters are from or involved in the aristocracy. Well other than their “business” dealings. None of which are legal.

Both Louisa and Jacob have faced hardship after hardship, which wasn’t uncommon in those years, and yet found ways to rise above it and make a life for themselves. Even if that life wasn’t what they were expecting, they made it so they were in control.

I admire that both of them were able to make difficult decisions and used their limited skills to create a profitable and (mostly) happy life. The way Jacob and Louisa’s best friend were able to break through her self-imposed grief to help her accept her life was amazing. Definitely an ending I was happy with!
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This is a dramatic and eye opening book that is very different to the majority of books that I read. It is a story of love, loss, commitment and all the challenges that come along with those experiences.

It is set in the mid 1800s in England and tells the story of widow Louisa as she tries to forge an independent and self sufficient lifestyle in a patriarchal society.

I was drawn to the characters and found them to be well developed. I enjoyed taking a trip back in time and felt the author balanced the book well by telling both Jacob’s and Louisa’s viewpoints. It put a different slant on the story to see how, in a society where it was well down that women heavily relied on men, that a man could need a woman too!

This has been a thoroughly enjoyable & dramatic historical saga!
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This was a very unique storyline with an unconventional romance that I enjoyed.

Initially, the plot sounded strange. An ex-boxer who loves a madam of a brothel house once he becomes her bodyguard?  But strangely, the story works well and was a very nice book to read. The author writes the story in a simple, yet engaging way to make you invest with the characters.

Louisa is an interesting character. I really liked her confidence and determination. At times, she is foolhardy and doesn’t realize the trouble she might get herself into. Also, she is very stubborn with Jacob at times which I found frustrating. Nevertheless, she is mesmerizing. Similarly, I also liked Jacob. His story is a bit slow in the beginning because nothing much happens. For the majority of first half, he is brooding over his life of violence and the guilt over his mother. However, I started to enjoy his character once he interacts with Louisa and considers her proposal. Moreover, in the second half, I enjoyed his character more than Louisa.

Additionally, the supporting characters also blend nicely with the plot. Nancy is wonderful as Louisa’s friend and always by her side. Doreen is a great role model and I liked the wisdom she imparted on Jacob to do the right thing. One person who I thought was very interesting was Octavia, however, we do not see much of her once she joins Louisa.

The author did a very nice job with the story. She paints a dark grim sleazy version of the 1800s and makes it entertaining. There are some interesting twists and turns, like when Chaney attacks Nancy, or the attack on Louisa. Overall, this was a very nice book that I finished in one sitting, and I really liked it.
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Set in Victorian Bath, this is a story about women who survive the danger, deceit and depravity of the time. Louisa recently widowed, reluctantly returns to her old life but this time on her terms. She experiences angst and conflict as she forges a new living for herself and the young women she saves from the streets. Jacob regrets not saving his mother, from his father. Despite his reputation as a tough fighter, he respects and protects women. It is these qualities that draw Louisa to him. 

There is a good insight into what life was like for women in Victorian England with stark contrasts between the genders and social classes.  It is an emotional read with gentle romance.

This book is recommended for fans of Victorian history and romance, believable characters and an absorbing plot.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Aria in return for an honest review.
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A Widow’s Vow is a departure to the popular Pennington’s book series by Rachel Brimble. We are still in the majestic city of Bath but we’ve gone back in time by just over 50 years, the year is 1851, the Victorian era and this is the start of a new historical saga series for the author.

Louise Hill has a past that she is not ashamed of but she is so pleased that she was rescued from this part of her life by her husband and has been happily enjoying married life in Bristol. However, when her husband is discovered dead in a hotel in another city she fears for the safety he created for her. More bad news was to follow but a sliver of a light emerges with the key to a house in Bath. Louisa with her best friend Nancy head for a new life in their new home in Bath but all is not what it seems and the fear of financial security is closing in on her. Louisa feels the only way to secure her and Nancy’s financial future is to return to the past she and Nancy left behind. A past were they relied on their looks and charm to support them. Louisa vows to make this return to a way of income different this time, she wants to supply a safe, clean environment for the girls who earned a living working on the street.

Jacob Jackson also has a past one filled with heartbreak and violence. His violent upbringing has led him to a career that revolves around the profiteering of violence. Jacob has been a boxer for a good few years now but when he happens upon Louisa Hill a proposal of a new career is brought to his attention. Jacob is worried he cannot leave his violent past behind him.

This is a story of two people with pasts that have seen so much hardship, heartbreak and violence. They have seen the ugly side to life and have frequented many dark places in cities. They have been brought together by fate with a view to making a difference to the lives of themselves and others. However, the darker side of life is never far away and Jacob struggles with the demons from his past. Both Louisa and Jacob fight with their emotions and the past and as they move two steps forward with the hope of better things to come they stumble one step back as the darkness of life sets in.

A great start to a new historical saga series set around three women with a past they wish to learn from and aspire to make new starts. Romance weaves gently around the heartbreak and struggles of life and fits in perfectly with the storyline. I’m looking forward to learning more about Louisa, Jacob, Nancy and Octavia.
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I was really pleased to be invited to the blog tour for Rachel Brimble's latest novel, a Widow's Vow.

Rachel writes beautifully about Bath and Bristol in her books and I have already reviewed a number of them from her Pennington's series as well as some other books. 

I felt for Louisa straight away and the scene with the constable left me wanting to know what was going to come next. I was glad she had her friend and Jacob. 

The novel has Rachel's signature style and pacing but there's something different in the subject matter in that this feels darker than her other novels. 

It was no less enjoyable though. 

Thanks to Rachel Brimble and Head of Zeus for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I also took part in the cover reveal for this novel. 

I am looking forward to the rest of the books in the series. 

4 stars
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An unusual historical romance set away from high society and featuring characters who need to find their own way to survive.The characters were good and the story engrossing.
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This is the first novel I have read by this author and immensely enjoyed the story of Louisa hill and her determination to make a living not just for herself but her best friend and soulmate Nancy after losing her husband.  

She resorts to the only life she.knew before she was married and in establishing her new brothel  business needed to employ a "minder" in the form of Jacob Jackson, a local boxer.

Louisa has a strong will and has no choice but to be tough in order to survive in a world which  exploits women. Her attraction to Jacob is overwhelming and there are ups and downs in their relationship. Jacob. Has such deeply seated problems originating from his childhood but is fundamentally a good man. 

I hope that there is a sequel to this story although I cannot see one yet.

Thank you netgalley  for my copy.
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As well as being a book geek, I am also a huge history nerd.  Mix the two together and you have my perfect sort of book.  So you can probably understand why I became desperate to read ‘A Widow’s Vow’ as soon as I read the synopsis.  Anyway I soon settled down to read ‘A Widow’s Vow’ and I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of the story but more about that in a bit.

 I absolutely love books that are set during the 19th Century as that is a time period that fascinates me.  As soon as I started to read, I knew that I was in for a treat.  It didn’t take me all that long to get into this story.  After a chapter, I knew that I was going to find it increasingly difficult to put the book to one side for any length of time.  I immersed myself in the story so deeply that I was able to shut out all other distractions just so I could focus on the story.  Usually I have the attention span of a gnat and I am easily distracted but not in this case.  I couldn’t read the book in a single day because boring things like life got in the way but I was able to read the book over the course of a few days.  I was genuinely disappointed to reach the end of the story because it meant that I had to say goodbye to the characters.  I soon cheered up when I realised that it was only a temporary farewell as there is going to be a second book in the series.

‘A Widow’s Vow’ is extremely well written but then I think that to be true of Rachel’s books in general.  Rachel clearly does a lot of research for her books, which shines through in the quality of her writing.  In fact, I think that Rachel writes her stories in such a vivid and realistic way that I literally felt as though I had borrowed the Tardis from Dr. Who and I had been transported back to the 19th Century with all the sights and sounds going on around me.  Rachel has one of those easy going writing styles that makes the reader feel as though they are part of the story themselves.  That’s how I felt at any rate.

In short I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘A Widow’s Vow’ and I would recommend this book to other readers.  I will be reading more of Rachel’s work in the future.  ‘A Widow’s Vow’ is the first in a new saga series and if this first book is anything to go by then the series promises to be an excellent series.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 4* out of 5*.
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What a brilliant book, how these women put themselves through prostitution to survive is just heartbreaking. If you can understand the concept of this you will really enjoy the book
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Hang on tight because the twists and turns just keep coming.  A wonderful tale filled with rich characters.  True friendship and love find themselves in the toughest, roughest spots on earth.  A definite page turner that will keep you up into the wee hours.  Enjoy!

NetGalley provided a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
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