To Live Forever

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To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis

by Andra Watkins

published by Word Hermit Press

2014

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary

Explorer Meriwether Lewis has been stuck in Nowhere since his mysterious death nearly two centuries ago. His last hope for redemption is helping nine-year-old Emmaline Cagney flee her madame mother in New Orleans and find her father in Nashville. To get there, Merry must cross his own grave along the Natchez Trace, where he duels the corrupt Judge, an old foe who has his own despicable plans for Em.

My Review

A mixture of historical fiction and magical realism, To Live Forever is an amazing novel from Andra Watkins.  Merry is trapped on Earth after his death on the Natchez Trace, the historical path that extend over 440 miles, from Natchz to Nashville.  He is haunted by his failures in life and his legacy.  He has tried multiple time to free himself from “Nowhere”, and now he has only one more chance to redeem is soul.  To do do, he has agreed to help 9 year old Emmaline escape the evil Judge Wilkinson, another ghostly figure, who has murdered her mother and wants to keep Emmaline for his own.  They set out from New Orleans and travel the Natches Trace to get Emmaline to her father in Nashville. Along they way, they encounter a host of historical characters, lending a feeling of magic to the story.

To add to this amazing story, author Andra Watkins actually walked all 444 miles of the Natchez Trace recently.  Read more about her walk at  –http://andrawatkins.com

My rating

5 out 0f 5

 

More about the author-

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Andra Watkins is a native of Tennessee, but is lucky to call Charleston, South Carolina, home for 23 years. She is the author of ‘To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis” (coming March, 2014) as well as short stories and her blog athttp://www.andrawatkins.com.

 

 

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure- a review

5 Comments

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The Paris Architect

by Charles Belfoure

published by Sourcebooks Landmarks

2013

I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Summary

Like most gentiles in Nazi-occupied Paris, architect Lucien Bernard has little empathy for the Jews. So when a wealthy industrialist offers him a large sum of money to devise secret hiding places for Jews, Lucien struggles with the choice of risking his life for a cause he doesn’t really believe in. Ultimately he can’t resist the challenge and begins designing expertly concealed hiding spaces—behind a painting, within a column, or inside a drainpipe—detecting possibilities invisible to the average eye. But when one of his clever hiding spaces fails horribly and the immense suffering of Jews becomes incredibly personal, he can no longer deny reality.

Written by an expert whose knowledge imbues every page, this story becomes more gripping with every life the architect tries to save. (from Goodreads)

My Review

It seems like I have read many well written books recently that centered on WWII, such as The Storyteller, The Girl You Left Behind, The Light in the Ruins, and The Perfume Collector.  I had heard good things about The Paris Architect, so I decided to give it a try, though I hated to compare it to the previous books I loved.  When I began this book, I admit I didn’t like it much.. The writing was very good, but I didn’t like the main character, Lucien.  He was a bit smug, shallow, and obnoxious.  This quickly changed as I read further.  In the end, I loved this book.  It was well written and moved very fast for me.  I read it in 1 1/2 days.  The only thing I would change is I would have liked to have known more about the people Lucien was helping.  There was some background given, but it left me wanting to know more about them.  I guess this is a good sign! If you enjoyed any of the books I mentioned before, I would definitely recommend this book to you.

rating

4 out of 5

Before I Met You- a review

5 Comments

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Before I Met You

by Lisa Jewel

published by Century

2013

Summary

After her grandmother Arlette’s death, Betty is finally ready to begin her life. She had forfeited university, parties, boyfriends, summer jobs—all the usual preoccupations of a woman her age—in order to care for Arlette in their dilapidated, albeit charming home on the English island of Guernsey. Her will included a beneficiary unknown to Betty and her family, a woman named Clara Pickle who presumably could be found at a London address. Now, having landed on a rather shabby street corner in ’90s Soho, Betty is determined to find the mysterious Clara. She’s ready for whatever life has to throw her way. Or so she thinks . . .

In 1920s bohemian London, Arlette De La Mare is starting her new life in a time of postwar change. Beautiful and charismatic, she is soon drawn into the hedonistic world of the Bright Young People. But two years after her arrival in London, tragedy strikes and she flees back to her childhood home and remains there for the rest of her life.

As Betty navigates the ups and downs of city life and begins working as a nanny for a rock star tabloid magnet, her search for Clara leads her to a man—a stranger to Betty, but someone who meant the world to her grandmother. Will the secrets of Arlette’s past help Betty find her own way to happiness in the present?

A rich detective story and a captivating look at London then and now,Before I Met You is an unforgettable novel about two very different women, separated by seventy years, but united by big hearts and even bigger dreams (from Goodreads)

My review

This book started off real well for me.  I loved the premise- finally moving out on one’s own, with a sort of “quest”.  I very much enjoyed how Betty tracked down the mysterious beneficiary, and the flashbacks to Arlette’s story.  I loved the descriptions of life in 1920s London, the changing of norms, the freedoms, and the music.  The part of the book that didn’t work for me was with Betty herself.  It was a little too predictable, moving next door to a rock star, and all that transpired there (do not want to give away too much).  I also felt Betty’s character was not as developed as others, especially Arlette’s.  I liked the secondary characters a lot and was hoping they would develop more also.

This was a fun read, and I would recommend it especially to those that enjoy the Jazz Age.

Rating

3 out of 5

 

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Lisa Jewell (born 19th July 1968, Middlesex, London) is a popular British author of chick lit fiction. Her books include Ralph’s Party, Thirtynothing and most recently 31 Dream Street. She lives in Swiss Cottage, London with her husband Jascha and daughters Amelie Mae (born 2003) and Evie Scarlett (born 2007).
(from  Goodreads)

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes- She Reads October Book Club Selection

26 Comments

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The Girl You Left Behind

by Jojo Moyes

published by Pamela Dorman Books

2013

I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley

I am reposting this, as She Reads has chosen this wonderful book as their October Book Club Selection.

Summary

In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened…

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most – whatever the cost.

My review

I picked up Jojo Moye’s  The Last Letter From Your Lover last year at the Charleston airport.  Some 36 hours later, I was a huge fan of the author.  I missed out reading her wildly popular Me Before You, so I jumped at the chance to read her new book when it was offered through Net Galley.  This story is told in a dual narrative, following the stories of two women and one painting.  The story begins in 1916 in the French town of St. Perrone that is occupied by German troops.  Sophie Lefevre has returned from Paris to help her sister run their family hotel, while both their husbands are fighting on the front.  Moyes paints a vivid picture of the hardships suffered by the town.  While trying to survive, Sophie is forced to serve the german troops in her bar.  The new German Kommandant takes an interest in a painting hanging in the bar that was done by Sophie’s artist husband Edouard.  The painting  The Girl You Left Behind, was of Sophie, and it it the one reminder Sophie has left of her beloved.  The second story is intertwined and is set in present day London.  Liv Halston is a widow still desperately mourning her husband David who passed away suddenly four years ago.  She lives a small empty life, clinging to her pain.  Her one consolation is the painting David bought her a s a wedding present called The Girl You Left Behind.  When Sophie unexpectedly meets American Paul McCafferty, she finally allows herself to imagine her life beginning again.

Moyes takes us through the hardest times in the lives of these two very different women as well as the horrors of WWI in a masterful way.  I don’t want to tell you too much of the story, since it unfolds in a wonderful way.  I did prefer the parts with Sophie slightly over Liv’s, but probably because I am a sucker for well written historical fiction.  I highly recommend this book, as I would The Last Letter From Your Lover.  Moyes is a gifted author who I will look forward to reading in the future.

“I stood and gazed at her, and, for a few seconds, I remembered how it felt to be that girl, free of hunger, consumed only by idle thoughts of what private moments I might spend with Edouard.  She reminded me that the world is capable of beauty, and that there were once things-art, joy, love-that filled my world, instead of fear and nettle soup and curfews.  I saw him in my expression.  And then I realized what I had just done.  He had reminded me of my own strength, of how much I had left in me with which to fight.

When You return, Edouard, I swear I will once again be the girl you painted.”

My Rating

4.5 out of 5

Please head over to She Reads to see more reviews of this wonderful book!

My Notorious Life

6 Comments

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My Notorious Life

by Kate Manning

published by Scribner

2013

I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for a fair and honest review.

Summary

A brilliant rendering of a scandalous historical figure, Kate Manning’s My Notorious Life is an ambitious, thrilling novel introducing Axie Muldoon, a fiery heroine for the ages. 

Axie’s story begins on the streets of 1860s New York. The impoverished child of Irish immigrants, she grows up to become one of the wealthiest and most controversial women of her day.

In vivid prose, Axie recounts how she is forcibly separated from her mother and siblings, apprenticed to a doctor, and how she and her husband parlay the sale of a few bottles of “Lunar Tablets for Female Complaint” into a thriving midwifery business. Flouting convention and defying the law in the name of women’s reproductive rights, Axie rises from grim tenement rooms to the splendor of a mansion on Fifth Avenue, amassing wealth while learning over and over never to trust a man who says “trust me.”

When her services attract outraged headlines, Axie finds herself on a collision course with a crusading official—Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. It will take all of Axie’s cunning and power to outwit him in the fight to preserve her freedom and everything she holds dear.

Inspired by the true history of an infamous female physician who was once called “the Wickedest Woman in New York,” My Notorious Life is a mys­tery, a family saga, a love story, and an exquisitely detailed portrait of nineteenth-century America. Axie Muldoon’s inimitable voice brings the past alive, and her story haunts and enlightens the present (from Goodreads)

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16130211-my-notorious-life

My Review

I love historical fiction, women’s fiction, and books based on true stories, so It was inevitable that I would be interested in My Notorious Life by Kate Manning.  While it took me a while to get used to the way it was written- journal form, with spelling and grammatical errors, I did enjoy reading this book.  It went pretty quickly for me too!  I immediately fell in love with Axie Muldoon, a 12 year old growing up poor on the mean streets of NYC in the 1860’s.  When her mother’s health places her and her family in danger of starving, Axie, her sister Dutchie, and their baby brother Joe are sent out West on the Orphan Trains run by the Children’s Aid Society (to read about another great book based on the orphan trains click here).  Axie loses her sister and brother to new families and chooses to return to New York, where she eventually becomes a servant in the house of Mrs. Evans, a reputable midwife.  Axie becomes Mrs. Evans’ assistant also, and following her death, begins her own midwife practice.  After years of helping both the wealthy and destitute alike, Axie believes she is helping women take a little control over their own bodies.  She feels she is helping all these women, wither welcoming babies into the world, or preventing unwanted pregnancies through  medicines, or, when necessary and still possible,  procedures.  When she is threatened with arrest and incarceration, she refuses to stop.

This book was based on the true story of Ann Trow Lohman, also known as Madame Restell- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madame_Restell.

My Notorious Life is a very well written book that gives the reader an amazing look into the lives of women in the later part of the 19th century.  I would highly recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction.

Rating

4 out of 5

For other review of this book, check out-

Book’d Out

Sam Still Reading

To learn more about the author, visit her website at-

http://katemanningauthor.com

The Perfume Collector-She Reads’ August Book Club

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the perfume collector

The Perfume Collector

by Kathleen Tessaro

published by Harper

2013

An inheritance from a mysterious stranger . . .
An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank of Paris . . .
And three exquisite perfumes that hold a memory . . . and a secret

London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a fortunate young woman. Despite her sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London’s most refined and ambitious social circles. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn’t come easily to her—and perhaps never will.

Then one evening a letter arrives from France that will change everything. Grace has received an inheritance. There’s only one problem: she has never heard of her benefactor, the mysterious Eva d’Orsey.

So begins a journey that takes Grace to Paris in search of Eva. There, in a long-abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank, she discovers the seductive world of perfumers and their muses, and a surprising, complex love story. Told by invoking the three distinctive perfumes she inspired, Eva d’Orsey’s story weaves through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London.

But these three perfumes hold secrets. And as Eva’s past and Grace’s future intersect, Grace realizes she must choose between the life she thinks she should live and the person she is truly meant to be.

Illuminating the lives and challenging times of two fascinating women,The Perfume Collector weaves a haunting, imaginative, and beautifully written tale filled with passion and possibility, heartbreak and hope.

(from Goodreads)

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16248311-the-perfume-collector

My Review

I was very excited to start reading this book and I was definitely not disappointed!  The author has given her readers a beautifully written work of historical fiction.

This novel intertwines the stories of Grace Munroe, a young british socialite in the 1950’s and of the mysterious Eva D’Orsey, who has made Grace her sole heir.  When Grace is informed that Eva, a woman she has never heard of before, has passed away and left her entire estate to Grace, she travels from London to Paris, to learn more about her.

The author takes us through the lives of these to wonderful characters, bringing the setting of New York in the 1920’s and Paris in the 1950’s to life.  She gives us a wonderful cast of characters, especially Eva and Grace.

As part of Eva’s story, we learn about the art of perfume making.  I found this part so interesting.  I would love to have a perfume that was made especially for me-that takes my nature and personality  into account.  While I was in Bermuda last month, we happened upon a small perfumery, called Lili Bermuda.  They make only a handful of perfumes and they take you through each perfume and explain what the major factor is in the scent.  Being the best husband in the entire world, John bought me the one I loved called Fresh Water.  I love it, and I was reminded of that special feeling while I read this book.

I would definitely recommend The Perfume Collector!

Please head over to She Reads and see some of the other wonderful reviews of The Perfume Collector @ http://www.shereads.org/2013/08/august-book-club-selection-3/

Rating

4.5 out of 5

English: Perfume urn in the Caron shop in Pari...

English: Perfume urn in the Caron shop in Paris, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King

6 Comments

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The Bones of Paris 

by Laurie R. King

published by Bantam Books

September 10, 2013

I received an advance ebook through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Summary

Paris, France; September, 1929. For Harris Stuyvesant, the assignment is a private investigator’s dream—he’s getting paid to troll the cafés and bars of Montparnasse, looking for a pretty young woman. The American agent has a healthy appreciation for la vie Bohème, despite having worked for years at the U.S. Bureau of Investigation. The missing person in question is Philippa Crosby, a twenty-two year old from Boston who has been living in Paris, modeling and acting. Her family became alarmed when she stopped all communications, and Stuyvesant agreed to track her down. He wholly expects to find her in the arms of some up-and-coming artist, perhaps experimenting with the cocaine that is suddenly available on every rue andboulevard.

As Stuyvesant follows Philippa’s trail through the thriving, decadent ex-patriate community of artists and writers, he finds that she is known to many of its famous—and infamous—inhabitants, from Shakespeare & Co’s Sylvia Beach to the Surrealist photographer Man Ray. But when the evidence leads Stuyvesant to the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre, his investigation takes a sharp, disturbing turn. At the Grand-Guignol, murder, insanity, and sexual perversion are all staged to brutal effect in short, gut-churning acts. Depravity as art; savage human nature on stage.

Soon, it becomes clear that one missing girl is a drop in the bucket. Here, amid the glittering lights of the cabarets, hides a monster whose artistic coup de grace is to be rendered in blood and gore. And Stuyvesant will have to descend into the darkest depths of perversion to find a killer . . . sifting through The Bones of Paris. (from http://www.laurierking.com)

My Review

When I requested this book, I thought-ok, fun little mystery.  WRONG!  It was so much more.  There is the mystery, but it is wrapped in amazing layers of history!  The author makes you feel as if you are looking directly into Paris at the end of the 1920’s.  She introduces you to real people of the era-painter, singers, and authors.  As the main character, Harris Stuyvesant, searches the city for a young missing American, we meet and hang out with the famous artist Man Ray, singers Brictkop and Josephine Baker, along with Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, and Kiki of Montparnasse.   It is an intricate story, that unfolds slowly, but I found myself unable to go slowly, instead plowing on ahead even when I wanted to take a break.  I loved the way the author brought me right into the different neighborhoods of Paris in 1929.  You can hear the Jazz and taste the champagne right along with Harris.  As Harris comes to grips with the starkness of the Surrealist and Dada movements and the horror of the Grand-Guignol, you are right there also.

I really recommend this book-while it had some pretty intense parts, it was a fast read and kept my interest the entire time.  I really didn’t want it to end.  I hope the author, who also wrote The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (which is now on my TBR list), writes more books with these characters and in this setting.

rating

4.5 out of 5

EXPATRIATES: PARIS 1920S

EXPATRIATES: PARIS 1920S (Photo credit: roberthuffstutter)

The Dark Monk by Oliver Potzsch

3 Comments

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The Dark Monk

A Hangman’s Daughter Tale

by Oliver Potzsch

published byMariner Books

2012

Summary

1660: Winter has settled thick over a sleepy village in the Bavarian Alps, ensuring every farmer and servant is indoors the night a parish priest discovers he’s been poisoned. As numbness creeps up his body, he summons the last of his strength to scratch a cryptic sign in the frost.

Following a trail of riddles, hangman Jakob Kuisl; his headstrong daughter Magdalena; and the town physician’s son team up with the priest’s aristocratic sister to investigate. What they uncover will lead them back to the Crusades, unlocking a troubled history of internal church politics and sending them on a chase for a treasure of the Knights Templar.

But they’re not the only ones after the legendary fortune. A team of dangerous and mysterious monks is always close behind, tracking their every move, speaking Latin in the shadows, giving off a strange, intoxicating scent. And to throw the hangman off their trail, they have ensured he is tasked with capturing a band of thieves roving the countryside attacking solitary travelers and spreading panic.

My Review

To review this book, I must first go back to The Hangman’s Daughter, the author’s first book in what has become a series.

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I loved The Hangman’s Daughter.  The author came up with the idea for this book when he was researching his own family and discovered he was a direct descendant of a family of executioners in Bavaria.  The role of executioner was handed down from father to son, and during the 16th to 19th century, the Kuisle family were the executioners for Schongau, Bavaria.  In the first novel, set in 1660, we meet Jakob  Kuisl, the Hangman of Schongau, who is also a healer.  When some children are found dead with what appears to be a witch’s mark on their backs, the local midwife is immediately accused.  While it is his job to torture a confession from her, Jakob believe she is innocent, and sets out to find the real killer.  With the help of his daughter Magdalena and her friend Simon, they try to solve the mystery.  I loved the way this book gave the reader a real idea of medieval Germany and it’s society.  I never knew that town employed executioners, but that they were considered undesirables and had a very low standing in society.

The Dark Monk takes us right back to Jakob and Magdalena and a new mystery, when the local priest is poisoned.  This new novel includes much of the same wonderful writing and characters from the first, while branching out into the history of the crusades and the Knights Templar- areas of history that  I LOVE.

I would definitely recommend reading The Hangman’s Daughter and it’s sequel The Dark Monk.  They are wonderful books!

rating

4 out of 5

Schongau, Bavaria, Overview

Schongau, Bavaria, Overview (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Light in the Ruins- a review

3 Comments

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The Light in the Ruins

by Chris Bohjalian

published by Doubleday

2013

borrowed from the library

Summary

1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.

1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood—Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.

Set against an exquisitely rendered Italian countryside, The Light in the Ruins unveils a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.  (from Goodreads)

My Review

I have been a fan of Chris Bohjalian since I read Midwives many years ago.  I remember being surprised that a male author could tell such a compelling story in a female voice.  So began my love of (almost) everything this prolific author has produced.  I loved Secrets of Eden and The Double Bind, as well as his recent The Sandcastle Girls, which I reviewed on this blog.  I haven’t yet read Before You Know Kindness, but it is on my list!  What I find most surprising about this author is his ability to make every book he writes almost completely different from anything he has written previously.  Each book is beautifully written, with well established character, yet each are originals.  The Light in the Ruins continues this.

What begins as a murder mystery slowly intertwines with an historical drama.  We begin the story with the brutal murder of Francesca Rosati in 1955.  She is the widowed daughter in law of the once prominent Rosati family.  The killer addresses the audience and his hatred of the family is tied back to the late days of the war, in the beautiful Tuscan countryside.  The story goes back and forth between Florence in 1955, where the female detective Serafina Bettini is working to catch the killer, and 1943 Tuscany at the family’s beautiful Villa Chimera.  The suspense slowly builds as the author brings the countryside to life for the reader.  I think one of Bohjalian’s best talents lie here- in making you see, feel, and experience a place so well.

I definitely recommend this book, as I would most of Bohjalian’s work.  The only book that I will not rave about was The Night Strangers, which, while well written, just wasn’t my style.  I am trying to pull my mom into this author’s camp also.  Put this one on your TBR list right now-at the top!

rating

4.5 out of 5

tuscan villa

tuscan villa (Photo credit: Mircea2011)

Summerset Abbey-a review

2 Comments

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Summerset Abbey

by T.J. Brown

published by Gallery Books

2013

downloaded onto my Kindle (again borrowed from lovely daughter) from Amazon

Summary

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.
Rowena Buxton

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.

Victoria Buxton

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 Tate

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.

(from Goodreads)

My Review

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-

http://teribrownbooks.com/tjblog/

Rating

3.5 out of 5