Bellfield Hall or, the Observations of Miss Dido Kent by Anna Dean

Bellfield Hall or, the Observations of Miss Dido Kent by Anna Dean

Published in 2008 by Kennebec Large Print. 359 pages.

Found on the Large Print shelves at DEAN

Are you in for a surprise? I’ll tell you…you are.

How does one explain the intrigues, deceptions, restrictions and mores of a different land, I ask you…English ‘Cultured Society’, ‘The Landed Gentry’: Honesty, Clever Women, Power, etc. Today’s readers, practising the flexible, unrestricted motley of culture and custom, could become lost.

‘The cut of her clothing, gave her away.’ ‘A Gentleman would not do that.’ ‘Nor D..n. E..l. THAT!’

 Yet, this period is the one used, not only to unfold the mystery of the murder, but also to set and provide the thoughts and situation of our hero’s escape. Certainly, in the author’s use of this period, to convey subtleties in the context: escape to freedom, for Dido. She sees it, eventually, and her life is unbound. It is in the edifice of the cultural situation of the story, and finally, wonderfully, in her hero William Lomax, as the author unfolds it to us. But you will have to wait.

In the should-nots of Bellfield Hall, suspicion is well-presented, and the intrigue will intrigue you, the reader. You will have a remarkable introduction, if you are unused to it, to the life in, on and upon a country estate.

Here the main male character is the ‘Lord of all he surveys’. Yes, ‘Life and death!’. Quote: “It would be different if the child was a natural…’By Blow’” “Money and words would fix it.” “But murder?” (Well…Yes…)   

Be not impatient, dear reader, for you will be led skilfully into the wonderful mind of Dido, our investigator. Aunt Dido is a fully-mature maiden aunt – well regarded, and beloved. Dido meets William Lomax, father a “Bonuder Tom Lomax”.

Unbelievable is the character of William. He is the epitome of a gentleman, and Aunt Dido is not immune. He, with the most perfect etiquette, virtually tells her that he loves her. However if you do not become enmeshed in the period, you might be a little perplexed. Read on or you will miss the very, very best section of the book.

The author weaves a spell. The writing is superb. The subtleties, the depths of meaning are wonderfully written. Dido is won, but this is an independent woman, who knows what she wants to do. You may or may not approve. I will not, nor can I, spoil this ending. And I warn you that it is no good peeping, as the author leads you to…….’A Wonderful, yet intriguing finish for the author’s favourite character’, who ‘Escapes to her Freedom’ – on her own terms.

Review by George Conygham

George entered our monthly Book Review Competition which is just one of our Love 2 Read National Year of Reading 2012 activities.

Would you like to enter a book review for this month? Please email a 400-600 word review of a fiction or non-fiction book, with the June theme of ‘Dream’, to:  competition@bmcc.nsw.gov.au , along with your name, library card number and contact phone number, by the last Friday of the month. Good luck!

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