Title: The Inheritance of Lion Hall
Author: Corina Bomann
Release Date: May 2018
Length: 736 pages
Series?: Löwenhof Saga #1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Sweden, 1913. Having petitioned the court for independence from her aristocratic family, the young and vibrant Agneta Lejongård takes control of her destiny. In Stockholm, she explores her bohemian passions in art and free love, joins the suffragette movement with her best friend, and defiantly resists the expectations of women in high society. Then comes news of a tragic accident and an urgent summons to return to the family’s manor house in the country. As for Agneta’s forward path in life, she must now follow it back home.
Though the grand horse-breeding estate of Lion Hall stirs some warm memories, what lies ahead tests Agneta’s independent spirit: a disapproving mother locked in the traditions of a woman’s proper place, two men vying for Agneta’s heart, and a twist of fate that upends her life once again. Torn between a daughter’s duty and the freedom she pines for, Agneta struggles not only to rebuild her future, but also to protect the future of Lion Hall itself. Forging a new path brings challenges, rewards, and a true purpose that she never could have imagined.
When I first started reading, everything seemed a little stilted. The language was just a tad…off. I couldn’t figure out if it was the author, the writing style, or what. After some time into the book, I discovered it was translated from Swedish. One mystery solved!
This is the first book in a series about Lion Hall. The estate is located in southern Sweden in 1913, with the last vestiges of the aristocracy clawing to keep hold on their ways.
Agneta Lejongård has finally had it and cut ties with her family – mainly, her parents. She has returned to Stockholm as an art student. It was a feat she didn’t think possible, where in her classes she is the only female and is resented vehemently by her classmates as well as her professors. She is mid-twenties and bucks the patriarchy and aristocracy. She is a feminist, and fights for the right for women to vote alongside her friends. While she never wanted to be on the marriage mart, she is madly in love with Michael.
Her life has finally settled and is going along swell until a telegram arrives from her mother. She rushes off to Lion Hall, unsure what will meet her there with the scrap of information her mother put in the telegram.
Ultimately, she is now the heir. She has to make a decision to take control of the estate as the heir or return to her world of dreams in Stockholm. This isn’t the only decision that tears at her. Her brother died never knowing their father had died. She made a promise to him. She near hates her mother. Being constantly criticized. Feeling forced into a marriage. She does, indeed though, come to remember that she loves Lion Hall.
There are a series of events that happen at the estate involving various staff members in and out of the great house. Agneta treats them all unlike the rest of the aristocracy. They are people to her. She works to gain their trust and confidence, and takes an interest in some of their lives, at least those closer to her.
When their stable master can no longer fulfill the position to Agneta’s satisfaction (guys – SO much drama around that!), Max is then charged with the job as well as assisting her in managing the estate. He is a young man from Germany, a younger child like Agneta, but he will not inherit his family estate. Agneta plans to learn alongside him so that she can run the estate on her own.
There is instant connection – not insta love, but insta connection. They have what becomes a full-blown, no-bars hold affair in the small little cottage he has taken up residence in on the property. However, the silent snake in the grass is always there: she is aristocratic and he is not, lacking a title and estate. It is a plague to Agneta a few times, but is always a subject that Max will not discuss.
As their affair progressed, I was sure I could fairly well predict what would come next. Not quite! I think I was shocked when she learns of Max’s true identity.
With as strong-willed and modern as Agneta is, I was sure she would find some way forward that was acceptable and she could live with. Things played out in a typical aristocratic fashion, and I felt Agneta’s pain. I rooted for her at this stage in her life and I even hurt at how coldly she was treated. Despite the tone and vibes of the entire novel, it does have a HEA.
One of the things I couldn’t really get past was just how trusting and naive Agneta was. For a woman who has been living on her own in Stockholm for a while, entrenched in women’s rights, and a clear disdain for marriage, I feel like both of her first relationships in the book are merely lust that she’s fairytaled into love.
I did enjoy reading this twisty story. I was surprised but happy that Agneta’s relationship with her mother grows and the cold around their hearts melts. There were several who-dunn-it situations and other ordeals that Agenta chose to be a part of (all in the name of good!) that definitely add drama to the story.