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The Cherished Wives [Hardcover]

Valerie Anand
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1996 Bridges Over Time/Valerie Anand, Bk 5 (Book 5)
A new entry in the popular Bridges Over Time Series, tracing the history of the Whitmead family, focuses on Lucy-Anne Whitmead, who lives in the late 1700s, as she uses an unexpected legacy to win freedom from an abusive husband.

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From Publishers Weekly

English novelist Anand's ironically titled fifth entry (after The Faithful Lovers) in her Bridges Over Time series features sensitive, free-spirited women who rebel, outwardly or inwardly, against selfish, chauvinistic husbands, lovers and fathers. The action is set in England and India between 1740 and 1801. In 1742, Lucy-Anne Browne marries her self-important, dictatorial second cousin, George Whitmead, who is absent for years at a stretch as a merchant of the British East India Company. After becoming pregnant during her secret affair with down-to-earth bailiff Stephen Clarke, Lucy-Anne clandestinely gives birth to a baby, Hugo, who is adopted by a clergyman and his wife on the condition that she promptly end the liaison. Two decades later, her legitimate son, Henry, a wealthy, exploitative landlord and coach-builder, weds Emma Kendall, who seethes at being "to Henry, little more than a human pisspot." Meanwhile, George, returning from India for keeps, suffers fits of insanity during which he mistakes Emma for his secret Indian mistress. To cap the melodrama, Emma dies giving birth to her third child, Sophia, who will rebel against her father by eloping with one of his tenants. Keenly observant of her characters' foibles and strengths, Anand combines authentic period detail with deft plotting, blending in historical figures such as astronomer William Herschel and Robert Clive, ambitious colonizer of India. Her turbulent, ongoing saga remains a delight.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book #5 in Anand's Bridges Over Time Series March 30 2009
By Misfit TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The story of the Whitmead family of England continues in this fifth of six books known as Bridges Over Time. George Whitmead, a merchant with the East India Company returns home to find a bride and settles on second cousin Lucy-Anne. George, a pompous over-bearing windbag who thinks women should be "cherished" and protected, brings Lucy-Anne to his country estate with his mother as chaperone. Once settled in with strict rules about allowable social engagements he leaves his bride and returns to India. Lucy-Anne does well managing the estates and its tenants, but loneliness takes her on an unexpected path and that brings life-changing consequences.

The story continues as George returns from India for good, albeit a bit mad at times, although his son and heir Henry refuses to acknowledge it. Henry is much like his father and treats his wife and daughters the same way "cherishing" and protecting them from the outside world, although his daughter Sophia chafes at the restrictions and almost brings herself to near ruin as a result of her attempt at freedom.

While I did enjoy parts of this book, especially the early parts of Lucy-Anne's marriage, others were quite slow paced and sluggish. I think one of my main problems keeping interest is there just aren't any likeable characters in the last two books - but not bad enough that you love to hate them either. Just meh. I'm still going to try and get a hold of the last in the series, The Dowerless Sisters; mainly because I'm hoping she'll tie the Whitmeads and the family device of a bridge over the river with the unknown distant relatives in Normandy from the first book. Only recommended for die-hard Anand fans or those who do want to read the entire series, but I do not recommend it as a stand-alone. 3/5 stars.

The series in order,

The Proud Villeins
The Ruthless Yeomen
Women of Ashdon
The Faithful Lovers
The Cherished Wives
The Dowerless Sisters
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wife's plight Oct. 29 2003
Format:Hardcover
The previous four volumes of Anand's highly literate and absorbing "Bridges Over Time" series traced the Whitmead family of Surrey, England, from before the Magna Carta to the early 1700s. The fifth, The Cherished Wives, picks up the Whitmeads in the late 1700s, as George Whitmead, a wealthy merchant with the East India Company, returns from India to England to choose a suitable bride.
George may be young but he has decided ideas about wifely deportment and his interval at home stretches as one young woman after another proves too talkative, too opinionated, too forward, too independent. Then his eye falls on Lucy-Anne, 17, shy, quiet, inexperienced and protected.
Even before the wedding Lucy-Anne understands that the sun shines on George exclusively and that her own orbit will be of his choosing. But at her wedding her great aunt Henrietta bestows an unusual blessing: "I wish you well, my dear, and I wish you power and freedom too; more of them than I have ever had."
Her words ring in Lucy-Anne's mind over the years, most often ironically, for power and freedom were not part of her marriage bargain. Lucy-Anne traded away any chance at either in return for the security she gains from being George's wife and mistress of his Surrey Estate.
But it's a hard bargain. George, disappointed in an heir, returns disgruntled to his beloved India, leaving his wife in the care of his mother, both cocooned in respectable seclusion on his estate. But old Mrs. Whitmead soon dies in a most protracted and hideous manner and Lucy-Anne is left to cope on her own. A particularly blistering and insensitive letter from George destroys the last of her regard but Lucy-Anne struggles to run the estate and live according to his proscriptions while carving out a niche for herself.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wife's plight Oct. 29 2003
By Lynn Harnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The previous four volumes of Anand's highly literate and absorbing "Bridges Over Time" series traced the Whitmead family of Surrey, England, from before the Magna Carta to the early 1700s. The fifth, The Cherished Wives, picks up the Whitmeads in the late 1700s, as George Whitmead, a wealthy merchant with the East India Company, returns from India to England to choose a suitable bride.
George may be young but he has decided ideas about wifely deportment and his interval at home stretches as one young woman after another proves too talkative, too opinionated, too forward, too independent. Then his eye falls on Lucy-Anne, 17, shy, quiet, inexperienced and protected.
Even before the wedding Lucy-Anne understands that the sun shines on George exclusively and that her own orbit will be of his choosing. But at her wedding her great aunt Henrietta bestows an unusual blessing: "I wish you well, my dear, and I wish you power and freedom too; more of them than I have ever had."
Her words ring in Lucy-Anne's mind over the years, most often ironically, for power and freedom were not part of her marriage bargain. Lucy-Anne traded away any chance at either in return for the security she gains from being George's wife and mistress of his Surrey Estate.
But it's a hard bargain. George, disappointed in an heir, returns disgruntled to his beloved India, leaving his wife in the care of his mother, both cocooned in respectable seclusion on his estate. But old Mrs. Whitmead soon dies in a most protracted and hideous manner and Lucy-Anne is left to cope on her own. A particularly blistering and insensitive letter from George destroys the last of her regard but Lucy-Anne struggles to run the estate and live according to his proscriptions while carving out a niche for herself.
Since anything she does is likely to annoy George, deception becomes a way of life and repressed emotions smolder, needing only the slightest spark to shatter her artificial and lonely life. That spark is, of course, supplied. But this is no passionate bodice-ripper, no tale of triumph for the headstrong heroine. Quite the opposite. Passion turns to ashes when doused with the cold water of reality and every small gesture of assertiveness on Lucy-Anne's part is beaten back tenfold.
Anand's compassionate but unsentimental eye creates a vivid world in which the characters are wholly of their time. Her prose is colorful and evocative, her characters, especially the women, completely human, and the richness of historical detail forms the textural background inseparable from the story itself. Those who have not read Anand before will find themselves turning with pleasure to her earlier works.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book #5 in Anand's Bridges Over Time Series March 30 2009
By Misfit - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The story of the Whitmead family of England continues in this fifth of six books known as Bridges Over Time. George Whitmead, a merchant with the East India Company returns home to find a bride and settles on second cousin Lucy-Anne. George, a pompous over-bearing windbag who thinks women should be "cherished" and protected, brings Lucy-Anne to his country estate with his mother as chaperone. Once settled in with strict rules about allowable social engagements he leaves his bride and returns to India. Lucy-Anne does well managing the estates and its tenants, but loneliness takes her on an unexpected path and that brings life-changing consequences.

The story continues as George returns from India for good, albeit a bit mad at times, although his son and heir Henry refuses to acknowledge it. Henry is much like his father and treats his wife and daughters the same way "cherishing" and protecting them from the outside world, although his daughter Sophia chafes at the restrictions and almost brings herself to near ruin as a result of her attempt at freedom.

While I did enjoy parts of this book, especially the early parts of Lucy-Anne's marriage, others were quite slow paced and sluggish. I think one of my main problems keeping interest is there just aren't any likeable characters in the last two books - but not bad enough that you love to hate them either. Just meh. I'm still going to try and get a hold of the last in the series, The Dowerless Sisters; mainly because I'm hoping she'll tie the Whitmeads and the family device of a bridge over the river with the unknown distant relatives in Normandy from the first book. Only recommended for die-hard Anand fans or those who do want to read the entire series, but I do not recommend it as a stand-alone. 3/5 stars.

The series in order,

The Proud Villeins
The Ruthless Yeomen
Women of Ashdon
The Faithful Lovers
The Cherished Wives
The Dowerless Sisters
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic historical fiction book series Feb. 5 2014
By Jodi Goell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love historical fiction books & am so happy I found this book series (Bridges Over Time). The Cherished Wives is the 5th book and it was fantastic! Had a difficult time putting the book down! I won't talk about the story as the description states what happens but the author does an awesome job with writing the story. The details are great - you can picture what's going on in your mind and these characters come to life. If you like historical fiction books, you should definitely read this series - you will not be disappointed!
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