I was having a really hard time with this book. I’m blaming Downton Abbey. I adore Downton Abbey, but it made me want everything visual, dynamic and moving. Reading just wasn’t IT.
So – 3.7ish stars out of 5.
Three girls, two of them blood sisters and the third a governess’ daughter (Prudence) who was raised with Rowena and Victoria, are taken to live with their uncle, The Earl of Summerset, when their father dies. Mourning their father, who was a bit eccentric and very liberal, they are having a hard time adjusting to life with the Earl. Prudence is forced to live downstairs and work as Rowena and Victoria’s ladies maid, while suffering alienation by the staff for being raised with aristocracy and educated.
The book tells the story of all three girls. Rowena – trying to stand up for her sisters while still maintaining her uncle’s “standards” of living. Victoria, frail and sickly, dreaming of higher education and pursuing her father’s botanist profession, while still struggling to keep a secret that might cause conundrum. Prudence – trying to find her place in between the two worlds: upstairs and downstairs, and falling in love with an aristocrat.
There are the expected power struggles, the dramas, all on the cusp of WW2 breaking. However, there’s romance, familial bonds at play, and a very well written story.
Yet, though I would probably enjoy living during that time, I’m not sure I’ll read the following novels. This is just a too slow world for me.
I am very thankful to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the advanced copy of this book.