Review: The Wild Dark Flowers

Title: The Wild Dark Flowers(A Novel of Rutherford Park)
Author: Elizabeth Cooke
Publisher: Berkley Books
Published: July 1, 2014
Ebook, ARC
ISBN13: 9780425262597
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: NetGalley/Publisher

Goodreads Summary:
When May came that year in Rutherford, it was more beautiful than anyone could ever remember. More beautiful, and more terrible…

From inside their sprawling estate of Rutherford Park, the Cavendish family had a privileged perspective of the world. On the first morning in May, 1915, with a splendid view that reached across the gardens to the Vale of York, nothing seemed lovelier or less threatening. And yet…

At the risk of undoing the Cavendish name with scandal, William and Octavia Cavendish have been living a lie, maintaining a marriage out of duty rather than passion. But when their son Harry joins the Royal Flying Corps in France, the Cavendish family are forced to face the unavoidable truths about themselves, the society in which they thrive, and the secrets they can no longer bear.

In the wake of a terrible war, the emotional shifts between a husband and a wife, a wife and her lover, and a mother and her children, will shake the very foundation of the Cavendish family, and change the uniquely vulnerable lives of all who reside at Rutherford Park.

My thoughts: 
The Wild Dark Flowers is the second novel in the Rutherford Park series. If you've not read Rutherford Park, I would urge you to do so before reading this book. I didn't read it first, and while Elizabeth Cooke does a fantastic job of laying out the story, I felt as if I didn't get a clear picture. 

Who will like this book? Fans of Downton Abbey, Upstairs, Downstairs, and the like. Rutherford Park is a huge estate (like Downton) that is run by a small army of servants and staff. And just like Downton Abbey the story focuses not only on the family but the staff as well. So you get a broad picture of how the war had an effect on every class.

Lord and Lady Cavendish are trying to repair their marriage after her affair with the American. William knows that Octavia still has romantic feelings toward her seducer, but he still tries to do everything in his power to win her back. The Cavendish's have many more worries to contend with. They worry over their children, especially their son who is involved in the war. They worry over the household and the staff that has been sent or is going off to war. 

This story is full of emotional turmoil that will keep you turning pages until the very end. It would be hard to put in every detail and focus on every story line (there are a few) without giving away the entire plot or making this review thirty pages. The Wild Dark Flowers is a wonderfully written book that will leave you wanting more. This is the series to read while you're waiting for new episodes Downton Abbey.


  1. Thank you so much for a great review. Best wishes, Elizabeth Cooke


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