- Title: Lying with Lions
- Author: Annabel Fielding
- Publisher: Independently Published on June 20, 2021
- Genre: LGBTQIA historical Fiction
- Pages: 233
- Formats Available: Paperback & Digital
- Rating: 4/5
Trigger Warnings: Murder, Fire, Scenes of War
Many thanks to Annabel Fielding and Netgalley for providing me with a digital Advanced Readers Copy of Lying with Lions with a request for an honest review.
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Lying with Lions Blurb
Edwardian England. Agnes Ashford knows that her duty is threefold: she needs to work on cataloguing the archive of the titled Bryant family, she needs to keep the wounds of her past tightly under wraps, and she needs to be quietly grateful to her employers for taking her up in her hour of need. However, a dark secret she uncovers due to her work thrusts her into the Bryants’ brilliant orbit – and into the clutch of their ambitions.
They are prepared to take the new century head-on and fight for their preeminent position and political survival tooth and nail – and not just to the first blood. With a mix of loyalty, competence, and well-judged silence Agnes rises to the position of a right-hand woman to the family matriarch – the cunning and glamorous Lady Helen. But Lady Helen’s plans to hold on to power through her son are as bold as they are cynical, and one day Agnes is going to face an impossible choice…NetGalley Description
Annabel Fielding knocked me down with a feather in her newest novel, Lying with Lions. This incredible story takes readers on a journey through one woman’s desire to become better. But, how far will she go to become the best?
Agnes takes a job with a titled family to archive their ancestral history. However, Agnes had no credentials nor experience when Baron Bryant hired her. She comes from a background of lower than low. Where she vows to become someone while taking care of her drunken father before his death. Unfortunately, Agnes doesn’t know how manipulative the Baroness is before becoming attached. When it comes to Agnes’s attention, she attempts to right some wrongs, but it is a little too late. Both women need to face their demons. But will they escape the heinousness they unleashed on the world?
I didn’t know what to think of Agnes when I first met her. She seemed like an okay kind of person. But there was a hint of something under the surface that rubbed me the wrong way. It turns out she was a social climber, yet not the way most people think of a climber. She wasn’t looking for money or a fancy title. She wanted to feel important. Who of us can’t understand the longing to be important to someone?
Helen gave me chills from the beginning with her frigid snakelike qualities. I knew there was something wrong with her. But, Agnes followed her willingly in her reach for the top. For this alone, I formed a hatred of Agnes in my mind. In the end, I couldn’t reconcile Agnes’s struggle for inclusion with her deeds as Helen’s secretary/lover.
I felt for Harold and Meredith. Unfortunately, they were collateral damage in Helen’s twisted deceit. I am happy with how their story turned out. Though, I still don’t trust that uncle of theirs. Regardless of how well his intentions seem to be. I think there is more to him. His story felt unfinished, which disappointed me.
One of the most wonderful things about this book is the LGBTQIA representation. This feat is hard to do in historical fiction. I offer many kudos to Annabel Fielding for doing it so well. I also want to congratulate her on the tremendous amount of research that went into this tale. I adore history, and how Annabel pulled this all together makes me happy to be a reader.
My only real problem with this story is how the chapters tend to jump ahead in time without warning. That jarred me a bit and made me scratch my head in wonder. It would be wonderful if a dateline headlined each chapter. The only place where it told of a jump was the epilogue.
It pleases me to award Lying with Lions 4 out of 5 stars. The jarring time jumps pulled me out of the story, so that’s why it is 4 instead of 5 stars. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves history. The book is unique and full of characters you love and characters you love to hate.
About the Author – Annabel Fielding
Annabel Fielding, having graduated from the University of Arts London with an MA in Public Relations, is a game writer by day and a novelist by night. Being a self-professed history geek, she dedicates her free time to obscure biographies, solo travel and tea. She also posts a lot of history facts on her blog at https://historygeekintown.com.