Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review Post: Cavendon Hall

Cavendon HallAuthor: Barbara Taylor Bradford
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes an epic saga of intrigue and mystique set in Edwardian England. Cavendon Hall is home to two families, the aristocratic Inghams and the Swanns who serve them. Charles Ingham, the sixth Earl of Mowbray, lives there with his wife Felicity and their six children. Walter Swann, the premier male of the Swann family, is valet to the earl. His wife Alice, a clever seamstress who is in charge of the countess's wardrobe, also makes clothes for the four daughters.

For centuries, these two families have lived side-by-side, beneath the backdrop of the imposing Yorkshire manor. Lady Daphne, the most beautiful of the Earl’s daughters, is about to be presented at court when a devastating event changes her life and threatens the Ingham name. With World War I looming, both families will find themselves tested in ways they never thought possible. Loyalties will be challenged and betrayals will be set into motion. In this time of uncertainty, one thing is sure: these two families will never be the same again. Cavendon Hall is Barbara Taylor Bradford at her very best, and its sweeping story of secrets, love, honor, and betrayal will have readers riveted up to the very last page.

What was meant to be was meant to be.

To her, Cavendon was the most sublime place.

Rape she could have perhaps hidden. But pregnancy? That was hardly likely.
For many generations the prominent Ingham family has been loved, served, and protected by the Swann family. These two loving families have been loyal to one another for many, many years. This book takes pivotal characters from both of these families and tells their stories. The book focuses around Daphne, a daughter of Earl Mowbray, who is brutally raped and the aftermath of that rape. Daphne becomes pregnant with child, and not long after finding this out is already planning for a tour of Europe until the baby is born and put up for adoption. Luckily for all involved, not longer after a cousin of the Earl of Mowbray arrives for a visit, he and Daphne fall in love and prepare a quick wedding. Not to mention while all this looms above their heads, so does the impending war. Cavendon Hall must prepare for the worst and hope for the best!

This novel is told through the eyes of both families: the Ingham’s and the Swann’s. I found it so interesting that these families were so close. In the beginning of the novel, readers learn that the Swann children are allowed to sit in on the education and lessons of the Ingham children. This meant the world to me, and allowed me to love the characters that much more. The bonds that these two families share are remarkable. They are very loyal to one another and help each other through trying and difficult times. This is an upstairs downstairs relationship that I have never witnessed before!

This book is enough to keep me entertained and enlightened while I wait for more Downton Abbey to be released. Even though this story is different from Downton Abbey, it still has all the details that will make it a favorite for readers who enjoy that era and all there is to love about it. I think Downton Abbey is a more realistic representation that this book was, but the story, the drama, and the ever impending threat of war is enough to make any historical fiction enamoring for those reading!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest review***

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