Sunday 16 December 2018

#BookReview — Forsaking All Other By Catherine Meyrick #HistoricalRomance @cameyrick1

Forsaking All Other

By Catherine Meyrick

England 1585.

Bess Stoughton, waiting woman to the well-connected Lady Allingbourne, has discovered that her father is arranging for her to marry an elderly neighbour. Normally obedient Bess rebels and wrests from her father a year’s grace to find a husband more to her liking.

Edmund Wyard, a taciturn and scarred veteran of England’s campaign in Ireland, is attempting to ignore the pressure from his family to find a suitable wife as he prepares to join the Earl of Leicester’s army in the Netherlands.

Although Bess and Edmund are drawn to each other, they are aware that they can have nothing more than friendship. Bess knows that Edmund’s wealth and family connections place him beyond her reach. And Edmund, with his well-honed sense of duty, has never considered that he could follow his own wishes. Until now.

With England on the brink of war and fear of Catholic plots extending even into Lady Allingbourne’s household, time is running out for both of them.

Love is no game for women; the price is far too high.

Bess Stoughton has always been a dutiful daughter. She has never done anything to displease her father. However, it has been two years since her husband died and now her father has decided it is time for Bess to wed again. However, his choice in a husband for her is fatally flawed. Bess would rather die than marry the old and predatory Master Litchfield. So for the first time in her life, Bess defies her father and flees back to Lady Allingbourne, and once again takes up her duties as a lady-in-waiting. Now all she has to do is find a husband that is as rich as Master Litchfield but with a few more morals. Once she has secured a husband, Bess is sure that her father will forgive her. 

Edmund Wyard’s life is one battle after another. With England on the brink of war and the constant fear of Catholic plots, now is not the time to find himself a wife. So his mother has decided to find one for him. However, what his mother thinks would make him the perfect bride and what he thinks would make for a happy marriage are two very different things.

Edmund wasn’t prepared for the flutter in his heart and a yearning in his soul when he met Bess. Bess is totally unsuitable — his mother would never agree to the match, but try as he might, Edmund cannot find the will to keep away from her. Edmund knows he must be careful and not lose his heart to her. He must not fall in love. He cannot.

Forsaking All Other by Catherine Meyrick is a thought-provoking tale of sacrifice, honour and love. Rich in historical detail, Meyrick takes her reader on an intimate look at what life was like for women in the Tudor era. Between the covers of this remarkable book, we learn how women had no control of their future. They could only hope that their parents would be considerate to their feelings when they chose a husband for them. Unfortunately for Bess, her father chooses unwisely. 

Edmund finds himself in a similar situation as Bess. His mother has found the perfect lady for him to marry. Lucy comes with a substantial dowry. However, Edmund can find no common ground between the two of them, and he fears their marriage would be an unhappy one. He really wants to marry someone like Bess. If only… I really liked Edmund. He is a wonderfully dynamic character as well as being a very honourable one. He has flaws, but that made him all the more likeable. His mother’s overbearing personality does not cow him, although there is an element of fear. Lady Margaret Wyard is not a woman to be crossed. The romance between Edmund and Bess is a sweet simmering build. It is filled with tender moments and gentle touches. I enjoyed reading about them and watching their relationship develop

This story does not shy away from some of the undesirable topics of this time. In Elizabethan England there was a growing fear of a Catholic rebellion, and although Queen Elizabeth was tolerant at the beginning of her reign to her Catholic subjects, in the latter half she was beginning to lose patience with them. If you were caught practicing this religion, the ramifications were horrific. Meyrick’s portrayal of the historical Richard Topcliffe was very harrowing. Topcliffe was determined to eradicate Catholicism from England, and he often used torture and rape to secure a confession. The fear of Topcliffe and his agents are evident throughout this story.

Forsaking All Other is a love story, so a happy ending was to be expected although at one point I did wonder how on earth Meyrick was going to pull this off as our brave and heroic protagonists battled to stay alive amidst war, treachery and lies.

I think Meyrick has set a new standard of excellence. Forsaking All Other is certainly the best historical romance book I have read in this era. It is, without a doubt, a plot-driven page-turner of a book. 

If you are looking for your next great historical romance, then consider picking up a copy of this book. 

I Highly Recommend.

Reviewed by Mary Anne Yarde
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Catherine Meyrick
Catherine Meyrick is a writer of historical fiction with a particular love of Elizabethan England. Her stories weave fictional characters into the gaps within the historical record – tales of ordinary people who are very much men and women of their time, yet in so many ways are like us today.
She grew up in regional Victoria, Australia in a family with a love both of storytelling and of history in all its forms. After moving to Melbourne in her late teens, Catherine has worked as a nurse and a tax assessor, among other things, before finally finding her niche as a librarian. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also a family history obsessive.
Connect with Catherine: Website  •  Facebook  • Twitter


  1. Thank you, Mary Anne. I could not dream of a better review.

  2. Congratulations on your award.


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx