Wintercombe by Pamela Belle

30923166 Wintercombe by Pamela Belle
Kindle Edition, 624 pages
Published July 4th 2016 by Endeavour Press (first published September 15th 1988)
Copy of ebook provided by Endeavour Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am not being compensated in any way. All opinions are fully my own. ~Judi E. Easley

GoodReads Summary:
Sometimes we find light in the darkest of places…

Tortured by a cold, Puritan father, Silence has learned to conceal her passionate nature inside a prison like shell of passivity. Her eventual marriage does not offer her the escape that she longs for and she craves some semblance of autonomy.

It is only the sweep of history that finally offers Silence the freedom she so desires. Civil war has raged and her sombre husband has been away for two years.

During this time Silence – now Mistress of Wintercombe – has enjoyed a harmonious time with her children. Yet this sheltered world is shattered when enemy Cavaliers invade, causing havoc in the town. Wintercombe, once a tranquil bastion of family virtue, is transformed into an unruly, drunken, and licentious garrison. As the ugliness of war continues, Silence must learn to shed the submissive nature that life has forced her to assume and draw upon the inner strength that she has always possessed. From this turmoil a still more subtle threat dawns in the handsome shape of Captain Nick Hellier.

As the battle for England is matched by the struggle within her soul, it’s not long before Captain Hellier starts to slowly unlock the chains around Silence’s fragile, Puritan heart…

My Review:
I had read the summary in GoodReads and read other readers' reviews and comments. I was really looking forward to reading this book. Initially, the book didn't seem very thrilling, though. Where was the book that everyone had been so excited about? I hung in there and kept reading and quickly found out what all the excitement was about. 

Silence should have hated men. She had grown up with an abusive father. She had a neglectful and careless husband. The times were such, that women of her religion and station were disposable and worked to death. She was married to a man of a higher station and she really hadn't a clue how to fill that role. So she creates a place for herself in her own way. Three stepchildren who resent her. Four children she has given her husband. A house full of servents who don't accept her. And village folk who don't understand her ways. She's the outsider in every way. And her husband is supremely indifferent.

But now her husband and his oldest son are off to war to support Parlaiment. Unfortunately, the troops that come to be billeted at Silence's estate aren't Parlaiment's troops. They are the royalist troops, Cavaliers, the enemy. She's seen as a traitor and is almost tossed out of her own home. Living with the enemy is no fun. In fact, it's down right dangerous. Enemy troops can be lecherous and spiteful, free with their weapons and tempers, and threatening in every way imaginable. 

With her loyal maid, Mally and her children, Silence rises to each challenge. With some help, it seems from the Captain of the enemy troops as well. He's always putting in a good word with the manic Colonel, or redirecting his temper when it gets out of hand. The Captain, Nick, seems to be on her side. Or is he? For quite a while, she really can't tell whose side the Captain is on. Nick does manage to keep her and the children from getting killed or having her estate totally destroyed. And much to his surprise, he discovers his heart has taken a different side than his head. Though his head has smartened up with all that has happened throughout this war and has changed sides as well. Silence is just trying to be a good Puritan wife, but somehow her heart has taken its own course as well.

But the war is winding down and soldiers and troops are coming home. Including Silence's husband and his troops. Too many lives are in the balance, innocent lives. They must be sensible and consider others. So Nick and the few remaining Cavaliers march off into the sunset as George and his troops march up to the front door. Silence greets George a more independent woman than the one he left. This is a woman who has survived trial by fire. She is strong and will stand up for herself and those she cares for. You know that her marriage will not be the same now as it was before George marched off to war. Her children, her servants and the village have all joined her at various time to help her through. She in turn has done things to help all of them through. Silence has made her place here. She has been taken to their hearts under the most stressful conditions.

Would I recommend this book? Oh yes, to anyone who enjoys historical fiction novels and a good cry! In fact, I'm recommending this to my daughter, who's a history major and loves British history. Pick it up or download it and get lost in Silence's story. It is worth it!