I hope you are all well!! I have read so many amazing queer books this month, and even if the sapphic aspect of this story (sadly) happened off the page, I really enjoyed this one! Here’s my review!
Author: Annabel Fielding
Title: Lying with Lions
Synopsis: 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… (Goodreads)
4 stars: Aphrodite – Goddess of love and beauty. That means that I really liked the book, whether it was the writing style, plot or characters. It means it was an amazing book that I would completely recommend for the beautiful piece of art it is. However the book is not a Persephone because something keeps it from making it one of my favourite book ever.
Iris– Goddess of rainbows. Nothing new here, we all know that rainbows represent the LGBTQ+ community so this Goddess will be featured whenever a queer relationship or character appears.
Thank you to the author for gifting me a copy of this book. All opinions are honest and my own.
I am a huge fan of historical fiction and this one was no exception. The plot was intriguing enough: Agnes Ashford, an archivist is employed by the Bryant family to catalogue their archives but uncovers secrets that changes everything.
I loved the mystery aura this book had. We learn through the main character, Agnes, secrets about the mysterious Bryant family and how they each navigate arounf them. The subdued mystery/ crime aspect of the book was thrilling.
But the best part was the author’s voice. As it is mentioned in the Author’s note, so many elements of the story are inspired by historical events and historical figures but the author added their unique and interesting voice. The prose was beautiful and I highlighted so many quotes.
I liked the narration which focused on Agnes, who is a social climber with a lot of ambition. How could she not be one in the world she was living in? I didn’t find her to be particularly likable but that didn’t bother me at all. On the contrary, I loved reading about her ambition, the way her beautiful brain worked and how devoted and loyal she was (even if it was sometimes for her own gain). I will forever root for cunning, smart and ruthless young women. Her character development was the best part of the story; she began the story as a naive “little lamb” to becoming a ruthless lion under Helen’s supervision.
That’s another element I loved in the story: the romance between Agnes and Helen! I loved the fact that there was a sapphic relationship in this setting and I regret that most of the romance aspect happened off the page even though their closeness could be seen by everyone. I loved how they helped each other in their own way and also how unhealthy it was. It was raw and honest and I couldn’t get enough. And there were the other characters: Henry and Meredith who I couldn’t help rooting for. They were great “supporting” characters and it was nice to read their thoughts when the author shared them.
At some point the characters travel to Italy and the description was excellent because I felt as though I was traveling with them. This voyage was accompanied by talks of history and art which I truly enjoyed and I think the author captured Edwardian England pretty well.
I really recommend this book if you enjoy historical fictions, laced with political scheming, secrets, romance and betrayal.