Jan 17, 2013

Book Review: Summerset Abbey


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 and the distant rumblings of war. . . . 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.

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While I do tend to read the paranormal or young adult genres there are times when I get the urge for a good historical.  SUMMERSET ABBEY appeared to the perfect book to scratch that itch.  Not a romance though there are romantic elements to the story as there must be when the tale is centered about three young women.  Not a mystery though there is definitely elements to the story that take a while to bubble to the surface.

I found SUMMERSET ABBEY to be an interesting book.  It is centered around the three 'sisters' and what happens to their lives after their beloved father dies.  All of the sisters do get equal time and I will admit that I definitely had my favorites among them though I found them all interesting in different ways.

In reading about their lives and their interactions with the secondary characters I was given a clearer picture about how society constrained women in earlier times and just how much importance was placed upon just who one's parents are.  I found this engrossing.  I can better appreciate just how much difference the Sufferage Movement has made in the lives of women today.  How one isn't expected to move from your family home into your husbands and how one can now marry for love regardless of one's class.

The only thing that I didn't care for in SUMMERSET ABBEY was the ending.  I realize that it is only the first book in the series yet it felt rushed to me.  Because of this I am not able to rate this book as high as I might have otherwise.  I rate this book a 3.5 and do recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.


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