by T.J. Brown
published by Gallery Books
downloaded onto my Kindle (again borrowed from lovely daughter) from Amazon
1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society in this stunning series starter that fans of Downton Abbey will love.
Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. But everything she believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under their uncle’s guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey. Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered to the “underclass” in this privileged new world, and drawn into the Cunning Coterie, an exclusive social circle of aristocratic “rebels,” Rowena must decide where her true passions—and loyalties—lie.
Frail in body but filled with an audacious spirit, Victoria secretly dreams of attending university to become a botanist like her father. But this most unladylike wish is not her only secret—Victoria has stumbled upon a family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever…
Prudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena, and their bond is as strong as blood. But by birth she is a governess’s daughter, and to the lord of Summerset Abbey, that makes her a commoner who must take her true place in society—as lady’s maid to her beloved “sisters.” But Pru doesn’t belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any more than she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls. And when a young lord catches her eye, she begins to wonder if she’ll ever truly carve out a place for herself at Summerset Abbey.
I saw a review of this book a few months ago at a great blog I follow-Poof Books. Here is the link to that review-http://poofbooks.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/it-may-not-be-downton-but-it-is-summerset-abbey/.
Whenever I hear something is like Downton Abbey (one of my favorite things in this world) I have to have it. So I downloaded it and this was the second book I began in Bermuda. I took it slow, despite it being a very quick and fun read. This book very much reminded me of Downton Abbey with the setting and cast of characters, but it stands on its own as an original and interesting story.
When their father dies, Rowena and Victoria are forced to move with their uncle into Summerset Abbey. The biggest problem is they do not want to part from their dearest friend Prudence, whose late mother was their governess, and who was raised along side them as their sister. The Earl at first refuses to allow Prudence to come, but relents when Rowena assures him Prudence will be there as the girls’ ladies maid. This is only explained to Victoria and Prudence upon arrival at Summerset Abbey. Prudence accepts this difficult situation, as she does not want to be parted from the only family she feels she has left. She immediately finds life very different as a servant.
This was a fun and interesting book, but I was left a bit cold by the character of Rowena, who comes across as weak and morose. I am hoping to learn more about these characters in the next two books in this trilogy!
You can learn more about the author at-
3.5 out of 5
This is one that has been on my radar for the same reason it was on yours: the Downton Abbey comparison. I haven’t picked it up, I’m sort of waiting for the next one to comes out to see if it’s worth the effort.
Hope Bermuda was fun, I’m trying to find a way to squeeze in a beach vacation this year. We’ll see (desperately crosses fingers)!
I broke up with Downton but I’ll always love this era. Sounds like an interesting read!I might way to hear how the rest of the series goes before picking it up, though! Great review!