Review: Summerset Abbey and Give@way
Title: Summerset Abbey
Author: T.J. Brown
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: January 15, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Source: NetGalley and RockStar Book Tours
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 BuxtonSir 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 “under class” 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 BuxtonFrail 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. Now, Victoria has stumbled upon a family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever…
Prudence TatePrudence 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 ladies 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…
Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown is the first book in a new series. It's very reminiscent of Downton Abbey. There are quite a bit of characters, but it's not confusing. The story mainly centers around three young women, Rowena, Victoria, and Prudence. Rowena and Victoria are sisters, and Prudence was raised as if she were her sister. However Prudence is the daughter of Victoria and Rowena's former governess. After the sudden death of the girls' father they are forced to live with an uncle. Previously the girls were raised by a very liberal, forward-thinking man. Now they must endure living with a very strict, traditional-minded family. While Victoria and Rowena are welcomed with open arms, Prudence is forced to live as a maid. However she remains loyal and bonded to her sisters.
I really enjoy reading books from this time period right now, Summerset Abbey is no exception. I was hooked from the very beginning, and didn't want it to end. All though the book focused on the three girls, I would say Prudence was the main character in this book. There's a mystery that surrounds her throughout the book, and I couldn't rest until I found out what it was. I enjoyed the bond the sisters have, as well as their different personalities. The story line was captivating. I think Brown did an excellent job portraying the snobbery of the upper class, but also pride of the lower class. Prudence especially has a tough time in this book, because she doesn't quite belong in either world. I fell in love with the characters, and I feel invested in their fictional lives. This is a book I didn't want to end, and I can't wait for the next book in this series
If you enjoy historical fiction, Downton Abbey, mystery, and romance. This book is for you!
A Bloom In Winter (Summerset Abbey #2) March 5, 2013 (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15802718-summerset-abbey)
Spring Awakening (Summerset Abbey #3) August 6, 2013 (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16130248-summerset-abbey)
About the Author
TJ Brown is passionate about books, writing, history, dachshunds and mojitos. If she could go back in time, she would have traveled back to England, 1910, Paris, 1927 or Haight-Ashbury, 1967. She resides in the burbs of Portlandia, where she appreciates the weirdness, the microbreweries, hoodies, Voodoo Donuts and the rain.
Check out other stops on the tour:
January 21st - Chapter by Chapter - Guest Post
January 22nd - To Read or Not To Read - Review
January 23rd - In the Next Room - Interview/Q&A
January 24th - The Reading Date - Review
January 25th - Snowdrop Dreams of Books - Guest Post
TJ Brown has offered to give one of our readers a chance to win an autographed copy of her book. This giveaway is open to US addresses only.