At the outset, Eden Hall by Veronica Heley is just what it says on the cover. A Cinderalla like story of a timid girl, separated from her parents, is called to her rich father's estate only to realise that she is unwelcome and is pitted against a stepmother and her children. However, Araminta "Minty", with the "goodness in her heart and character" manages to strike a chord with the village folk and ultimately with their help, wins back her inheritance. The story is not all that great but the simple premise jells with with a contempory English village setting. This and good handling of the coming-of-age transformation of Minty together with the little twists and turns in the plot make it an enjoyable read.
The story has the breezy feel of a mills and boon romance between Minty and Patrick, the lawyer who is also her knight in shining armour, always handy to rescue her from sticky situations but lacks the gall to disclose his feelings for her.
Nonetheless, there are some criticisms. The religious affiliations of Minty, where she constantly seeks divine intervention to help her decide and guide her, does put one off a bit. Without sounding offensive against religious sentimentality, this tendencey to invoke god for every trivial inconvenience, the justification being Minty's upbringing in a vicarage, closeted from the street smart ways of the world does jar a bit.
However to the book's credit, the story pans out very well. It has an easy flowing narrative and the together with well described scenes of the English village life, spiced up with interesting incidents it culminates into a smooth, happy-ever-after ending.
All in all an enjoyable read when you want some welcome escapist distraction from the humdrum of daily life.