Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Ill-Kept Oath by C.C. Aune is the story of two young women in 1819 England; Lady Josephine Weston and Prudence Fairfeather. Josephine fears she'll always be known as an immature child, and be forever confined to her country home, but her summer begins to look up with the arrival of soldiers with the unusual request to camp out in the yard. When she discovers a trunk of her mother's that contains a female soldier uniform and pistols, she discovers more than heirlooms, but a mystery. Does it have anything to do with the supposed beasts the soldiers are hunting? Meanwhile, Prudence is spending her summer in London with Aunt Amelia, dreaming that one day she'll marry for love. She finds herself with two baffling mysteries: a dashing heroic gentleman, and objects of her mother's called Talismans. Through letter correspondences, they work to unravel the secrets of their pasts.
C.C. Aune captured the tone of the time period perfectly from the prose to the dialogue. It helped bring me into the time of the story, which allowed for a better understanding of Josephine and Prudence. It's not a crazy idea now to marry for love, but wanting to do that in 1819 showed how headstrong Prudence is, which made me like her from the start. Josephine is also an independent woman who doesn't let her cousin Edward push her around, and even goes about trying to reclaim the house from him, and learning to fence. There's several fantasy elements to it, but it's subdued, and instead the story is driven by the characters. The Ill-Kept Oath is charming, delightful, with some romance, humor, and adventure. I didn't want it to end!