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Escaping an abusive husband and the tragic loss of her newborn child, Tressa O'Daire leaves her home of Dublin, Ireland, for the unknown shores of New York City. There, she finds work in the powerful Langley family as a nurse-maid to a baby girl. The Langleys allow Tressa, a master baker by trade, to use their baking oven and she starts a business and a new life.
Ethan Langley, crippled in a riding accident that left him bound to a wheel chair, has spent the last eight years in his room escaping the embarrassment to his family and the hatred of his brother, Heaton. The only bright spot in his life is his sister, Sarah; until a certain Irish baker arrives and turns his life upside down. Their very lives are threatened when the head of the Langley household dies unexpectedly leaving the business and family fortune to Heaton. As Heaton and his wife, Victoria, bring the family to the brink of ruination, Tressa and Ethan must save whatever they can, including the budding love between them
A captivatingly authentic and beautifully told page turner, Tressa proves to be a genuine gem in a demanding genre and an example of historical fiction at its very best. Take it for a given that Cerny is on form with acerbic and insightful prose and her knack for capturing the realities and constraints of her chosen period is very much in evidence as she ably translates historical fact into a fiction that manifests a vivid sense of time and place. This is life as it was and she captures it with unbridled passion. From Tressa’s abusive marriage to Seamus and the pursuit of her dream to her burgeoning romance with Ethan, she strikes an impeccable balance between lavish detail and commanding narrative that readily captivates the imagination. The themes of prejudice, social standing and loss are deftly handled, and there is real emotional depth and poignancy to Cerny’s story, which although heartbreaking at times is ultimately one filled with hope.
Exquisitely told, powerful and thoroughly enjoyable Tressa is a must read for fans of Historical Fiction and is recommended without reservation.