by Lora Davies
The Widow’s Last Secret is a tale of desperation and running from one’s past.
The locals never really accepted Bella when she first got to town and began working for Mr. Farrow. When she accepted his marriage proposal, locals accused her of marrying him for his money. Mr. Farrow had no children from his first wife, who died, and he and Bella had no children. That left Bella as his sole heir – and a female landowner in the 1800s.
No one knows anything about Bella’s life before Mr. Farrow found her near death. When she meets an ambitious railroad engineer, Bella has no idea their paths have crossed once before. Now he wants part of her land for the new railroad, which she vehemently opposes. Falling in love was never meant to be part of the deal.
The Widow’s Last Secret reminds us all that desperation can cause the most unlikely people to make bad decisions in the spur of the moment. We are also reminded that no matter how far we may try to run from our past, it catches up to us eventually.
Bella shows the kind of strength and perseverance that should have been admired, but instead she was left as the target of rumors and an outcast. She did what she had to do in order to survive, and she fought back when she stood to lose everything, getting help from a very surprising source.
Davies paints an accurate portrait of women in the 1800s. It is obvious she did her research, showing both sides of the controversial new form of transportation – railroads. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction, or a story with a strong female protagonist, would likely enjoy The Widow’s Last Secret.