If you’re suffering ‘Downton Abbey’ withdrawal symptoms then this is the book for you! The story of an Earl and his daughters, a grand estate and upstairs/downstairs life is pure escapism.
The fortunes of the Swanns and the Ingham families have been intertwined for decades and resonate in the present 1920s period in which the book is set. The two current central relationships between the families are the Earl and Charlotte Swann who are about to get married and the already married heir to Cavendon; Miles Ingham and Cecily Swann (Charlotte’s niece)
The Earl’s four daughters; Diedre, Daphne, DeLacy and Dulcie (the four Dees) are also at the centre of this sweeping saga and I thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in their lives and preoccupations. There is even a ‘Maggie Smith’ character; Lady Gwendolyn who is great fun and of course the ubiquitous butler, in this instance called Hanson.
As we’re coming up to Mother’s Day, this would be a great gift for your Mum to put her feet up and enjoy with a box of chocs. Although the shadow of the Great War and the approaching Depression are mentioned and hinted at, there is nothing too dark here that is likely to ‘frighten the horses’ as they say!
This book follows on from Barbara Taylor Bradford’s first novel about the Inghams and the Swanns (Cavendon Hall) which is on my ‘to read’ pile so it will be interesting to see how we are first introduced to the characters and the relationships between them.