Cavendon Hall

Cavendon Hall

Book - 2014
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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.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, c2014.
ISBN: 9781250032355
9781250032348
Characteristics: x, 406 p. ;,25 cm.

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kwylie04
Aug 09, 2019

When I read the inside of the jacket, I was immediately drawn to the book, just like any fan of Downton Abbey would have been. However, I ended up being ultimately disappointed with the result.

BTB introduces us to the Ingham family, who have held the Earldom of Mowbray for the past few centuries, and their uber-loyal retainers, the Swann family. Both families are blessed with practically every virtue imaginable - they're all good-looking, kind, intelligent, etc. Then a terrible tragedy befalls one of the Earl's daughters, which threatens the family's reputation should the truth ever get out, but the day is saved by the timely arrival of an estranged cousin who comes back to the bosom of his family after being away for over twenty years. This whole situation is stretched to about 400 pages, but really, could have been wrapped up in half that were it not dragged out. Things like World War I are treated as pesky side-notes, even though the earl's eldest son dies during at period.

There are a plethora of characters in the Ingham family alone, but the reader never really feels that they get to know them on any deep level. Possibly the most potentially interesting of them, the eldest daughter, Dierdre, is written off as bitter and difficult, and only appears in about a total of ten pages throughout the entire story.

The majority of the story focuses on Daphne and her tragedy, with a secondary plot of seeing the marriage of her parents, Charles and Felicity Ingham, fall apart and Charles' resulting romance with Charlotte Swann. In all honesty, though, it's boring as hell. Daphne is saved by the timely arrival of her cousin, and Charles' grief is swept away by his suddenly noticing Charlotte, who has been one of his closest friends since childhood and even had a romance with Charles' father. Meanwhile, Felicity is written off as selfish and unfeeling towards her children when she has the temerity to go off to move on with her life as Charles does.

Then there is Cecily Swann, a younger member of the family who shows a keen talent for clothing design. Several of the Swann women are determined to get Cecily away from Cavendon Hall and the Inghams, constantly citing the emotional tangles that crop up between the two families and their seeing the beginning of that between Cecily and the Earl's second son, Miles. Their plot is a C plot at best, but is thrust to the foreground in the epilogue, an obvious set up for the second book in the series.

There is so much potential in the characters and the story, but little of it is ever truly realized.

w
weezie1
Jan 09, 2019

This book is number one in a series so don't miss it. If you like stories about families that live in mansions and have servants that are more like family than you will like this book. The story line starts right at the beginning and carries on. A story of two dedicated families.

ArapahoeKati Oct 21, 2016

If you're jonesing for a Downton Abbey book, this will miss the mark. It's got everything you'd expect--wealth, family secrets, a great house--but the writing, plotting, pacing, and character development left much to be desired.

r
robinfuller
Mar 20, 2015

i don't want large print books

Aggie3 Jul 07, 2014

Great read. The story is captivating and very well written. You feel part of the family, go through their struggles and moments of happiness. It's hard to put down. Loved it!

hgeng63 May 12, 2014

Sedate costume drama where the action is told & not shown. Has a really wonderful romantic confession on page 238.

h
hegneyr
May 07, 2014

One of the best reads in a long time. Hard to put down. Pity that we have to wait until February 2015 to read the sequel called Cavendon Woman

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