The Nature of a Lady – Secrets of the Isles, Book 1

(16 customer reviews)

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1906
Lady Elizabeth "Libby" Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn't favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage's former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished.

Oliver Tremayne--gentleman and clergyman--is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he's happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth's summer cottage . . . especially when he realizes it's the curious young lady he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can't quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.

As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love.

16 reviews for The Nature of a Lady – Secrets of the Isles, Book 1

  1. HEATHER ELIZABETH

    ABSOLUTELY ENTHRALLED WITH THIS STORY

    Having 4 Elizabeths noted in the story was such a fun concept (especially if one’s middle name happens to be that as well -smile). As the layers of the mystery developed and eventually unfolded, getting to know the characters was something I truly enjoyed. What made them more interesting was my initial judgement of some of them changed later on as I came to understand them better; they were not predictable. Oliver’s 95-year-old grandmother is something special. And his grandfather, filled with kindness and tall tales was just what you’d want. I also liked Darling, the kitten. Libby and Oliver truly seem to “fit” without even having to try which made the reading of their story all the more pleasant.
    Favorite Quote: “Everyone in the Scillies knew that when Oliver Tremayne took hold of your arm and looked deep into your eyes, he saw right down to your soul.”
    Tea Quote: “…his hands accepted by rote the mug of piping hot tea someone passed him. Old Mrs. Gillis always had it ready for the racers when they got back.”
    I give this a hearty 5 stars and am happy to recommend it, with thanks to the publisher and author for a gifted copy. All opinions are my own without compensation or expectation.

    The author has shared some lovely descriptions and photos of The Abbey Gardens that are featured in the book here: https://www.roseannamwhite.com/2021/04/a-tour-of-the-abbey-gardens.html which can only add to the overall impression of the story.

  2. Jennifer K

    This first book in Roseanna White’s new series is brought to life through the beautiful setting of the Isles of Scilly. The descriptions of the islands, island life and the residents pulled me into this story. When Lady Elizabeth Sinclair stumbles upon an unplanned adventure, her life becomes very interesting. I kept turning pages as a mystery unfolded which involved looking for pirate treasure! A wonderfully written romance bloomed amidst all the suspense. I also appreciated the faith lessons within this engaging story. I thoroughly enjoyed these new characters and look forward to learning more of their stories. Fans of White’s writing will love this book. I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  3. Jessica Dowell

    I am ecstatic about this new series by Roseanna White, with a refreshing new setting and new friends (characters) that I look forward to knowing better over the next few books.

    Libby is a wonderful character. She’s honest about who she is (and who she isn’t) and how she looks at life, and she has a kind heart. She can be shy, but she longs for true friends and is stressed out by superficial conversation and conflict. She is a classic introvert and it was so refreshing to read an introverted character who didn’t hate people, but longs for a true friend. I could appreciate her and Benna’s friendship subplot from two different angles, both as someone who has longed for friendship and someone who has had her heartbroken and thus closed herself off to friendships. It was interesting watching that story unfold.

    I loved the way they navigated topics of science vs faith and the fact that they don’t have to be in opposition to each other. YES! This is not talked about enough in the Christian realm.
    I am ecstatic about this new series by Roseanna White, with a refreshing new setting and new friends (characters) that I look forward to knowing better over the next few books.

    Libby is a wonderful character. She’s honest about who she is (and who she isn’t) and how she looks at life, and she has a kind heart. She can be shy, but she longs for true friends and is stressed out by superficial conversation and conflict. She is a classic introvert and it was so refreshing to read an introverted character who didn’t hate people, but longs for a true friend. I could appreciate her and Benna’s friendship subplot from two different angles, both as someone who has longed for friendship and someone who has had her heartbroken and thus closed herself off to friendships. It was interesting watching that story unfold.

    I loved the way they navigated topics of science vs faith and the fact that they don’t have to be in opposition to each other. YES! This is not talked about enough in the Christian realm.

    The importance of names and how God knows us completely. I loved this because of the way the author explained God in a way the scientifically minded heroine would relate to.

    Between the new characters and setting, the mystery, the treasure hunting, the romance, and the history this made for a super fun read and I am very excited to read the supporting characters’ stories in the upcoming books.

    I received an advanced copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing it. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  4. Ashton Dorow

    This book, guys–it makes me want to pack my bags right away and fly over the Isles of Scilly to tour the Abbey Gardens, watch the Wednesday morning gig races, and search for pirate treasure! Every time I opened its pages, it just made me feel happy inside!

    There was so much to love about this brilliant start to Roseanna’s latest series! First, the characters… I fell in love with Libby from her first appearance on the page. While at times she felt rather naive, I reminded myself that that is just part of who she is–she has been sheltered her entire life and this is her first experience with the world on her own. And I could relate to her in many ways, actually. I certainly don’t share her fascination with science, but I could totally sympathize with Libby’s feeling of being out of place and misunderstood because her interests and personality didn’t fit with everyone else. Next, I fell in love with Mabena; I appreciated how she was feisty and headstrong, but there were more layers to her than just that. Then in came one of the dreamiest heroes I’ve met this year in my reading–the vicar, Mr. Oliver Tremayne. **sigh** You gotta love a preacher man who also loves his family (especially his deceased, sickly brother that he took care of 😭), books and flowers, and lets the heroine be exactly who God made her to be. I appreciated that he still had flaws, though, to compensate for his otherwise perfection, namely his rivalry with Casek Wearne, which factors greatly into his arc as a character. It kind of reminded me of the feud between Ross Poldark and George Warleggan. Except Casek is far less despicable than George! I actually ended up liking Casek a lot!

    As always, Roseanna’s secondary characters shine just as brightly as her main ones do. I could spend several more paragraphs talking about all of them–Casek, Tas-gwynn Gibson, Mr. Menna, Beth, Bram, Lord Sheridan–but for the sake of not making this review a mile long, I will only focus on one more, which was my favorite character in the entire story… Maam-wynn! After the recent loss of my own grandfather, this sweet, precious grandmother figure touched a tender place in my heart. I could just hear her pixie-like laugh, see her sunny and mischievous grin, and feel her soft hands wrap a handmade shawl around my shoulders. She was a refreshing, loving hug my heart needed.

    The second thing I really loved about this book was the setting. The Isles of Scilly were almost like a character in their own right, and I could practically hear them calling my own name (coincidentally, my middle name is Elizabeth, so it’s a perfect fit LOL). I could practically feel the sand between my toes and the salty wind in my hair, hear the crashing of the waves and morning greetings from locals, and smell the mouth-watering scent of the bakery’s famous rolls. Like I said earlier, I want to pack my bags and fly there right now!

    Lastly, I loved the uniqueness of the premise and the pirate lore and treasure hunting aspects of the story. The pace of the mystery surrounding Beth’s disappearance and the hunt for Mucknell’s silver didn’t unfold as quickly as I expected, and some threads of the mystery got slightly confusing for me there at the end, but the other aspects of the journey were so delightful that I loved it anyway. I’m anxious to see what “secret of the isles” the Scillonians and incomers will uncover next!

    I’m convinced this book (and the rest of the series, I’m sure) would make the PERFECT Masterpiece Classic period drama. Seriously! The setting, the characters, the romance, the drama, the mystery–it has all the makings of a hit. So… someone please make this happen! LOL 😉

    If you’re a historical fiction lover in need of an “armchair vacation” this summer (or anytime of the year) this is the book for you! Totally worthy of all 5/5 Stars!

    **I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

  5. Labor Not in Vain

    A riveting read with a well built plot and characters that stay with you long after the last page is turned down.

    A case of mistaken identity draws Lady Elizabeth “Libby” Sinclair into a mysterious adventure while on holiday on the Isles of Scilly to escape the matchmaking schemes of her brother.

    Libby is an intelligent young woman, with a passion for studying nature. I admired her logical sensibilities, while also being sincerely compassionate, taking time to be present with others. I especially loved her interactions with Oliver and how he helped to open her eyes to see things in a new light.

    Ms. White brings the breathtaking setting to life, from the cliffs and caves to the cottages and beaches through the people who love the isles best. My very favorite character had to be Mamm-wynn, for how closely she walked with God and trusted His urgings, never hesitating to follow. She is a sage woman, who comes off as a little eccentric, and completely endearing, beloved by all. I also really enjoyed many of the other characters and hope to see more of them in future books, and honestly I’m still not sure what to think of Sheridan–could he be hiding something?

    Fantastic characters, filled with mystery, adventure, and a stunningly beautiful setting, this book quickly won me over and had me wishing for the next book in the series before I’d even finished this one. I loved the premise of mistaken identity, with multiple smart capable heroines, a resounding message of faith, and high stakes adventure. This is a well paced and plotted story with a lot of things going on at once and multiple levels of relationships between the various characters. I am definitely hoping to see many familiar faces in future books to come! Definitely a solid read all the way through, you won’t want to miss it!

    I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  6. Mary Hake

    This new series set in the Scilly islands offers a fantastic read, complete with suspense, drama, and romance. Roseanna White never disappoints. Her well-developed characters and creative plots offer a delightful read in wonderful settings. This story features Lady Elizabeth Sinclair, who loves exploring nature, escaping to an island for a summer with her maid, and Oliver Tremayne, a vicar who lives on one of the islands. His missing sister and quirky grandmother draw the two together to solve this mystery, which may involve pirate’s treasure. I enjoyed watching the characters evolve and make discoveries and am looking forward to reading more of their adventures in the next book. I received a copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  7. Karen Visnosky

    This is the first book I have read by Roseanna M. White. This is the first book in a series called “The Secrets of the Isles”. I could sense the intrigue from the very beginning of this book. However, I was originally afraid this book would read slow for me as some historical fiction books do, but it surprisedly did not. I did think some of the chapters were a little on the long side but since the plot was so good I did not let it bother me. One of the things I like about this book is that the secondary characters are just as well written as the main characters. They are so well written that you almost find yourself forgetting which two are the main characters of the story. Mabena Moon, the maid to Libby, was such a strong willed person and I thought she really balanced out Libby. I was glad that the author made them friends even though in the era this book took place that was an oddity. I also loved that Libby did not act like your typical lady from those days. Each character in this book brought so much to the story that I think that if even one was left out it would not have been the same. I cannot wait until the next book in this series.

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in order to give an honest review.

  8. Paula Shreckhise

    This absolutely perfect story had so many elements that I loved. The setting was so picturesque that it made me want to summer in the Scilly Islands. The prose was so poetic: “She’d left the windows open so she could hear the shushing of the waves, as familiar as a mother’s heartbeat. The wind whispered in, kissed her brow. The moon sang a lullaby,” It has a very solid faith thread. And the cover is gorgeous!
    Lady Libby Sinclair does not feel she fit within society’s constraints. She loves cataloging and sketching nature. She travels to the Scilly Islands and a curious thing happens. She is mistaken for another Elizabeth. This one happens to be Beth, sister to the local vicar, Oliver Tremayne, who is interested in botany. Libby starts to question the dichotomy of faith and science. Libby connects with the island, its people and especially Oliver’s grandmother and thereby to God. “Libby’s heart added a plea: I ask that you show yourself to me, God.” And Mamm-wynn imparts wisdom: “We see only in part. But there is more. More to this physical world that your magnifying lens can show you. And more still beyond it that we need a spiritual lens to see.”
    A mystery is discovered, friendships are forged, and more than one romance to savor.
    The ending brought tears to my eyes and a yearning to return to the Scilly Islands for more delightful romances.
    * I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  9. Connie Porter Saunders

    What A Story!

    What if there were two young women named Elizabeth — Beth, who is missing, and Libby, who wants to help find her? Throw in an island, pirates, treasure, and secrets… how could this not be a great story? So many questions waiting to be answered, and so many clues to uncover! The Nature of a Lady is the first book in The Secret of the Isles series and author Roseanna M. White once again proves why she is such a popular author. Her characters are both quirky and loveable, and their thoughts and actions kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen next. Where was Oliver’s sister Beth, and what was he going to do about his attraction for Libby?

    The Nature of a Lady has mystery and suspense, and a tantalizing romance between Lady Elizabeth Sinclair and clergyman Oliver Tremaine. Libby, who loves plants and science, but is uncertain about God, and Oliver, who believes that God is the true Author! This nature-loving young woman and clergyman are fantastic together, and their romance is swoon-worthy! I also loved learning about the Isles of Scilly as they may have been in 1906.

    Fans of Roseanna M. White will love this book, and newbies will add her to their “must read list” of authors. I highly recommend The Nature of a Lady and I can’t wait to see what’s next in this series!

    I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. There was no obligation for a favorable review, and I am voluntarily sharing my thoughts.

  10. Jessica

    Each book I have read by Roseanna White has been my new favorite, and The Nature of a Lady did not disappoint! I loved discovering a new place, the Isles of Scilly, through the pages of this book and each and every character was simply delightful! I so enjoyed getting to know Libby, Oliver, Mabena, and all of their family and friends as I lost myself in the adventure of this story.

    This was a refreshing story set in a new place, yet filled with all of the things that make a story wonderful; mystery, adventure, friendship, and love. I especially appreciate how Roseanna shows Libby’s struggle within herself as she longs to be accepted for who she is and learns, with Oliver’s help, that she is always loved by God and never alone! I can’t wait to continue the adventures of my new friends in the next Secret of the Isles book!

    (I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and author for an honest review. All opinions are my own.)

  11. Laura Mortimer

    “The Nature of a Lady” is high-action already halfway through the book, but the mysteries and adventures continue throughout the pages! White’s work is overall enjoyable with its touch of high society, botany, island living, danger, and friendships. Even with a different pace than her other series, it’s always refreshing to meet her new characters and fall in love with them by the end of the book! I enjoyed Oliver Tremayne for his caring nature, but my favorite had to be Mabena, the maid. I tried to discover her secret motivation to return to the islands (and what had pushed her away two years ago) and learn more about the island through her eyes.

    I received a complimentary copy of “The Nature of a Lady” from the publishers and all opinions are mine alone. I was not required to write a review.

  12. Laura Lane of Harvest Lane Cottage.com

    My Thoughts:

    The Nature of a Lady is a very intriguing romantic mystery set in 1906 in the Isles of Scilly off the English coast. Lady Elizabeth sets off for the islands for the summer with her lady’s maid Mabena to stay in a little cottage near the shore. Her plan is to escape her elder brother’s plan to marry her off and also to investigate the wonders of nature around her.

    Within a very short time of arriving, strange things begin to happen including being mistaken for another Elizabeth, being given strange things, and other odd encounters. In addition, Elizabeth’s lady’s maid begins acting strangely at times.

    Soon the plot begins to thicken like cornstarch in gravy. Like gravy, it’s as hard to put down the book as it is to put down the spoon! Once the vast array of islanders are introduced and each plays their part, Lady Elizabeth finds herself entangled in the island’s ways and in a mystery which she could never have fathomed.

    I adored the hero and heroine Oliver Treymane and Lady Elizabeth. They were both adorably geeky over nature and kind to each other.

    I highly recommend this book for a summer read. There is nothing in it that is inappropriate for a lady, young or old, to read. It does, however, have a fair amount of intrigue and excitement. It builds skillfully, and you may find yourself staying up too late to finish it!

    Five Stars!

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    I use the Goodreads star system.
    ★ Did not like it
    ★★ It was okay
    ★★★ Liked it
    ★★★★ Really liked it
    ★★★★★ It was amazing

  13. lattebooks

    Where to start in expressing my love of this story? The setting alone was written so visual and colorfully descriptive that I felt immersed on the island and following along with its inhabitants. Island life is like no other and the history of the Scillys is felt the whole time. A fun change of scenery in a story. This author knows how to build an atmosphere and weave it through a mystery for the ages. I adored Libby and her love of nature and desire to break free of the norm. Her wanting to categorize everything she saw was humorous and enjoyable. Oliver is amazingly well written for his flaws and loyalty to family. So many twists and turns as you find out how many people and events are connected and it all falls into place by the end! The pirate theme mixed in with buried treasure was so exciting and I literally could not put this book down. Well done by this author – another bookshelf keeper! I got a copy of this book from the publisher and this is my honest opinion.

  14. Raechel

    4.5 stars
    A new series by Roseanna M White always has the words “Yes please!” on my lips. “The Nature of the Lady” is a wonderful story that begins The Secrets of the Isles series fantastically. The setting was different from what I had come to know from the author but it was exquisite, and the characters were just as loveable as always!It was fun having a bit of Pirate-lore mixed into the plot; I am always intrigued by any mention of pirates, what can I say. XD And as the reader, I felt like I really got to unravel the mystery alongside the main characters, and I waited with baited breath till the very last page.But as always, what made the novel a hit for me was the characters. They were lovely, and so relatable. Lady Elizabeth was so unique and I loved her genuine fascination with nature. Oliver Tremayne was a perfect hero, gentle and kind while still strong and caring. And really the whole cast of characters were varied and unique and you couldn’t help but bond with them. Especially Mam-wynn! She was a doll.I nearly felt like I was there on the Scillies with them, solving a curious mystery and getting to know new friends. The faith message was gentle and sweet, and Elizabeth’s journey to truly finding God was peaceful and fulfilling. It was a quieter message, but still sweet. Can’t wait for more of this series!
    I received a copy from the publisher; I was not required to write a positive review.

  15. Jackie L.

    This book has so much to offer: a love for God’s Creation, Humor, Suspense, Mystery, and Romance. It was all done so well, I had to hold myself back from just devouring it. Eventually though I could no longer control myself.

    The suspense was well done and I couldn’t wait to finish the book and find out if I was right. The balance of science and faith is a struggle that people still have today. I laughed out loud at several moments in this book.

    The Isles of Scilly (pronounced silly) are located off the coast of Cornwall and I enjoyed learning about a new place. I’ve heard of Cornwall, but the Isles were new to me. The descriptions of the Isles are amazing and detailed. I now want to visit in real life!!

    I loved getting to know Libby, Oliver, and Mamm-wynn!! And I am so excited for a new series and new characters to love!!!

    I received a complimentary copy this book from the publishers. I was not required to provide a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  16. Lydia Howe

    Why I Choose this Book

    I chose this book because Roseanna M. White is one of my favorite authors. Her books whisk me straight into whatever world she’s created and hold me captive until the very last page.

    My mom is currently reading her Shadows Over London series, and I can’t wait to give her the Codebreakers trilogy when she’s done. And speaking of those books, if y’all haven’t read them you should request them from your library ASAP – they’re the best.

    What I Thought about the Book

    When I read a book there are several things that I subconsciously check for:

    -Characters

    -Setting

    -Plot

    -Believability

    -Questionable content

    Characters

    My favorite relationship in the entire book was between the main character Libby and her maid, Mabena. It was incredibly sweet, sometimes sad, and made me tear up more than once. There were points that I wished it could have been front-in-center more, and a couple of times where I didn’t feel like enough time was spent focusing on what they were going through, but that’s how life is in general.

    There were many other beautiful, intriguing, and sometimes confusing relationships in the book, all of which made the story feel like it was coming alive. The grandma was also incredibly precious and I just wanted to hug her.

    Setting

    The book takes place on the Isles of Scilly, which I’ve discovered I know very little about, and now I really want to research them – or even visit someday. The author did a fabulous job of making them pop in vivid imagery through her beautiful writing. The culture of the islands captured me with scenes of village life, generational feuds, rowboat races, and hot tea on cold mornings. It was delightful.

    Plot

    The fact that the author originally thought of the book idea because she has so many readers named Elizabeth and realized that so many people with the same name could be confusing is delightful.

    This story is more character-focused than plot-driven (which is how I like it), but there is a solid plot for the book. It’s just not incredibly fast-paced. While meandering at times, the story kept my focus the entire time and I read it in one day. I didn’t want to put down the story – plot or characters.

    Believability

    There were a few things that I raised my eyebrows about, feeling like they were a bit of a stretch, but I generally do that a lot while reading. I thought it was highly unlikely that Libby and her maid would have been allowed to go off to the island by themselves, but I chose to ignore that so I could enjoy the story.

    Questionable Content

    I don’t recall anything. There are a few kisses and a bit of violence, but none of it was too detailed.

    Conclusion

    I can’t wait until the next book in the series comes out because this world and these characters are ones I want to be a part of again. This was one of my favorite reads of 2021 for sure.

    Rating

    I’m giving The Nature of a Lady 4.5 out of 5 stars. Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of the book so I could post this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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