Cavendon Hall-Barbara Taylor Bradford

Cavendon Hall
Barbara Taylor Bradford
St. Martin’s, Apr 1 2014, $27.99
ISBN: 9781250032355

Since the 1760s, the aristocratic Ingham brood has lived at Cavendon Hall in Yorkshire. For sixteen decades, the Swann family has been their loyal servants at the big house. In 1913 as WWI seems imminent, Lord Charles, his wife Lady Felicity and their six children reside at Cavendon Hall. Meanwhile Swann patriarch Walter is the Earl’s valet and his spouse Alice and their twelve year old daughter Cecily make fashionable clothing for the countess and their four daughters; matriarch Charlotte serves as the estate manager and her nephew Percy is the gamekeeper.

When a neighboring squire’s son Richard Torbett rapes Daphne, her irate parents want satisfaction until the Swann’s talk them out of causing a scandal that will harm sweet Daphne much more than the miscreant. When Daphne becomes pregnant, the plan’s goal remains to protect the innocent victim, but deployment changes to sending her to the continent. That is until family exile, second cousin Hugo Stanton the affluent tycoon, arrives and falls in love with Daphne leading to their marriage. Meanwhile other dangerous events caused by an angry adversary and ultimately the war leave both families wondering about the generations-old affinity between the two families.

This is an engaging Edwardian epic that explores the relationship between upstairs and downstairs families and compares their respective lives on the brink of WWI. The well-written fascinating storyline entertains the audience although the conflict is muted and the motive for the nefarious activity by the obvious villain never explored.

Harriet Klausner

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