Reviewed by: Sooz
Genre: Historical fiction
Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words
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Kathy Steinemann has written a number of non-fiction book dealing with travel and IBS. Her first published fiction was the Vanguard of Hope, which deals with child abuse. Steinemann writes on her website that she was a victim of sexual abuse, which led her to write The Sapphire Brigade series.
Learn more about the author and her books at her website.
Hope has a terrible secret that affects her life. She doesn’t want to bring a child into the world because of abuse she faced as a girl. Hope also finds herself in love with the black groundskeeper of her home in 1890. She has difficult decisions to make while The Sapphire Brigade brings justice to those who can’t get help – like Hope.
This historical fiction takes place in the late 1800s although certain aspects feel slightly more advanced. But, it's fiction.
It's written in diary form by a woman named Hope. She kept her diary initially out of boredom, but quickly realized she needed a place to put down her thoughts and feelings.
Hope is a child abuse victim at the hands of her father. She never told anyone about what had happened to her, but finally reveals this to a few men she cares about. However, that is not Hope's only problem. She falls in love with one of her black employees only to have her husband return from a business trip more caring than ever.
She loves two men, has to deal with the repercussions of child abuse while a strange affliction slowly takes over body. Her diary is the one place to share all of these issues without judgment.
Steinemann does a nice job of conveying all of the raw emotions onto the pages of Hope's diary. While she never lets you into the minds of the other characters, it doesn't take away from the book. In fact, it feels quite realistic.
The Sapphire Brigade is a vigilante group that takes justice into its own hands when the law doesn't seem capable of helping those who cannot help themselves – child abuse victims.
The Sapphire Brigade plays an instrumental role in Hope's life from apparently dealing with her father to helping her escape people who would want to harm her and her family after her affair with a black man.
There is a lot going in Vanguard of Hope, however, Steinemman keeps it simple, so that it doesn't feel overwhelming. It was quick, enjoyable read.
The book is written as diary entries.
Rating: **** Four stars