A Voice to be Heard by Dell Brand is a wonderful story about two women who, against all odds, prosper and flourish in a “man’s world” during the Victorian Age amid the formative years in Melbourne, Australia. The story begins with Florence, the housemaid of Sir Robert Luxford of Leicestershire, England. Florence is seduced by Thomas, Sir Robert’s son, who later rebuffs her and denies all responsibilities for their unborn child. Florence flees to Bedford, England, where her twin girls Maddy and Joey are born. Sir Robert finds the family and takes care of all their needs, setting them up comfortably for life. The twins lose both their mother and grandfather shortly after they turn 19 and their estranged father forces them to leave England. The story goes on to follow Maddy and Joey to Australia, where the twins create their own destiny, forever leaving their footprints on the newly formed town of Melbourne.
I really enjoyed this book. I was a little skeptical when I opened it up to find the first four pages to be a list of the cast of characters but found I was easily able to follow along without losing track of who-was-who. The story started out quite fast – by page 30 or so the twins were already 18 years old, and that’s when the characters started to gain some depth and personalities. Actually, the whole booked moved at a rather quick pace, which was surprising as it is over 400 pages long.
The author has a very easy-to-read descriptive writing style. Her portrayals of events and places were full of vivid and sometimes scandalous details, and her characters were realistic and likeable. I was able to feel the experiences of the twins as they went through the trials and tribulations of their lives. Maddy and Joey were well read and educated by their mother and grandfather, and they rarely agreed with the dictates of society. Joey pushed the limits of society quite often, with Maddy happy to follow in her shadows. I delighted in reading about the roles of men and women in the Victorian Age and often laughed out loud, though I know it probably wasn’t very easy for the women living in that era.
A Voice to be Heard will appeal to fans of historical fiction during the Victorian Age and to anyone that likes an entertaining story telling with strong female leads. Great book!Powered by Sidelines