Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Review Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown
Paperback, Original, 288 pages
Expected publication: January 15th 2013 by Gallery Books
ISBN: 1451698984 (ISBN13: 9781451698985)
edition language: English
series: Summerset Abbey #1
Basically, Summerset Abbey revolves around two sisters, Rowena and Victoria Buxton, and their "sister" Prudence Tate who has been brought up right alongside them by Sir Philip. Not a Buxton by birth but the daughter of their late governess, Prudence has had the same privileged but somewhat unconventional lifestyle as Rowena and Victoria and the two sisters think of Prudence as another sister. This all changes after Sir Philip's death.
Forced to move to Summerset Abbey by their uncle, the two girls are now separated from Prudence as the Earl of Summerset views her solely as a maid. Prudence now has to live downstairs with the other servants and has a very tough time adjusting.
Although the times are slowly changing, Aunt Charlotte is still dedicated to the more conventional societal mores and wants only to find socially acceptable husbands for Rowena and Victoria. In 1913 this is just about the only option for young ladies from titled families. The two sisters have other ideas as neither one of them is even remotely interested in marriage. So they say.
The characterizations are fairly well done. I had somewhat of an emotional reaction to all of them; Rowena I just wanted to tell her to get a grip, Prudence was probably my favorite and I felt sorry for Victoria with her poor health and her distress at their situation. Even having said all this, the book lacked real substance.
Summerset Abbey gave voice to all three women but focused more on Prudence and constantly hinted at her family secret. It was pretty transparent to me from the get-go what that was all about. No surprise there, just a lot of melodrama!
Upon seeing the cover for this one and thinking it sounded a lot like the Downton Abbey production, I was expecting great things; maybe too much expectation. Wanting lush descriptions and more of a grand scale family saga I was a tad disappointed there wasn't more substance to the plot. I realize this is the first book in the trilogy and the author is setting the scene and letting the reader get to know the characters but still, the ending for one character didn't seem to fit and it was too much of an unsuspected cliffhanger. I liked it, but, alas, I wanted to love it. 3***
At the end of the book, there is a short excerpt from the second in the series, plus a discussion guide for this book.
Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Gallery /Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.