One of the great natural scientists of her age, Eleanor Glanville was a woman ahead of her time-the beautiful daughter of a seventeenth-century Puritan nobleman whose unconventional passions scandalized society. Her life was marked by two reckless preoccupations: a fascination with science-especially the study of butterflies-and a tempestuous love affair with the dashing soldier Richard Glanville that nearly cost her everything she held dear.
A lady lepidopterist may seem an unlikely real-life subject for historical romance, but Mountain (Bloodline) makes it work in this first-person account of the life of Eleanor Glanville, the late 17th-century naturalist accused of madness because of her devotion to studying butterflies. Daughter of a landowner, Eleanor grows up not just admiring the natural beauty of the marshy moors around her but also observing and collecting specimens according to the latest scientific methods. Butterflies become her passion even as she marries Edmund Ashfield, to whom she must cede control of her land, and it is Edmond's lack of passion that drives her into the arms of his dashing friend, Richard Glanville, whom she later marries, though neither husband proves as steadfast as the London apothecary with whom she corresponds about science. In later years, Richard and Eleanor's eldest son join forces to have her declared insane in order to gain control over her property so they can drain the wetlands. In fact, drainage battles over it, the implications of it is a huge piece of the novel and provides the most original passages of a lush and confidently plotted historical.