Monday, 3 February 2014

Cavendon Hall Review

Cavendon Hall
Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford


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.

Lisa's Review - 5 out of 5 stars

Cavendon Hall starts in 1913, and tells a tale of an aristocratic family, the Inghams, and their ever loyal aides, the Swanns. For over 160 years, the Swanns have served the Inghams, through births, deaths, weddings, and deepest darkest secrets, and are loyal until their last breaths. When an unthinkable tragedy occurs, the Swanns take charge to protect the Ingham family.

To start with, I absolutely love the era that this book is set in. Unlike some books set in this time, I also loved the fact that the Inghams didn't treat the Swanns as servants, they were friends, confidents, and treat with as much respect as the aristocratic family themselves.

At the start of the book, there is a detailed section of all the families, and other characters in the book, and the were so many I felt a little daunted as to how I would keep up with them all and how they were connected, but I needn't have been as in fact it was quite easy to pick up and remember who was who.
The characters were beautifully written, and going back to an era filled with Earls, and Dukes and Duchesses, Ladies and so on, it is sometimes easy to become disconnected to these kinds of characters as they come across as pompous, but I found so many of these ones loveable, and was able to warm to them, which made reading Cavendon Hall such a pleasure. Of course, there were a few characters the reader wasn't meant to like, and these were just as well written.
I adored Lady Daphne, and when the unthinkable happened to her, my heart broke for her. I really enjoyed reading the way she battled through to come out the other side, and her blossoming relationship with Hugo. In fact I could happily read an entire story about Daphne and Hugo (maybe a follow on from Cavendon Hall?!)
I thought I would find myself feeling sorry for the Swanns, and in a way I did, especially by the ending (which, by the way, really felt like it had been left for a next book, and I really do hope so!) but not in a way that I felt they were worked to the bone and under appreciated, but that wasn't the case. You can really understand that growing up with the Inghams and knowing each other all their lives, it would be easy to develop deeper feelings for one another, but in a time when society would have seriously frowned down on a relationship between a true blue blood and the hired help, those relationships would never have happened.

As well as the colourful and amazing characters, I loved the settings of the book. From Cavendon Hall itself, I had such a wonderful image of a beautiful, grand stately home, to the area it was in. Being a person that spent half of her life being brought up in Yorkshire, it was nice to have a mental image of some places that I knew from decades before I was born. I also really enjoyed the chapters that were based on the war. If I had any criticism at all of this book it would be that I would have loved a few more chapters based on that particular time slot.

This was a beautifully written story, with a wonderful mix of heart warming, horrifying, saddening and deeply interesting scenes. It made me smile, it made me cry, and it made me really appreciate a different era in a way I never have before.

I would really like to thank the people at HarperCollins who allowed me to have a pre release copy off Cavendon Hall to read and review. I think this has been one of my favourite books I have been lucky enough to have been sent, and as well as being a thoroughly enjoyable book to read, the cover is stunning and will look great on my bookshelf!


Purchase Links

Amazon UK



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