Posted in 20 Books of Summer 2015!, Book Review, Books I have read

Rutherford Park – Elizabeth Cooke

Historical Fiction 4*s
Historical Fiction
4*s

This historical novel set when England was right on the brink of World War I has far more depth than I initially expected, there are the expected emotional moments, but more than that, it is a book that looks at the lives of women at different levels of the social scale.

Rutherford Park is the stately pile that is the home to William and Octavia Cavendish and their three children Harry, Louisa and Charlotte and of course their entourage of servants. As the book opens on Christmas Eve 1913, we meet Emily Maitland, a shy young girl from the nearby mill town who is laying fires early in the morning a sharp insight into the world of a young servant girl of this era, but Emily has a bigger worry than carrying out her chores this cold day.

Meanwhile Octavia is expecting the house guests including a woman she has feared for the entire span of her marriage, a distant cousin of William’s the alluring Helene. It isn’t only the servants who have to abide by the rules of the house though – Octavia feels that her life is similar to that of a bird in a gilded cage, she is bored and feels her character has been stifled by living in the big house. She feels that she is looked down upon by her peers and servants because her money, money which was needed to keep the house going, is comes from the wool mills she approaches the new year with a yearning to do something more than escort the beautiful and outgoing Louisa as she embarks on the season.

The author has obviously, sometimes too obviously, done her research and there are plenty of authentic references to clothing, political views and expectations of this time, however at times, especially near the beginning of the story I felt that modern perceptions were heavily imposed on the characters thoughts rather than them being displayed in their actions. As the book progressed with its many secrets and dramas, the characters held their own as the paced picked up.

This is a book told through multiple viewpoints which gave a rounded picture of the goings on at Rutherford Park with the timelines overlapping at some points to give extra depth. The downside of this was sometimes it was hard to follow who was who until the plot had progressed and the characters became far more distinct.

I enjoyed this sumptuous tale and it was pleasing that it covered men with some real emotions, this wasn’t a female only cast, dealing with woman’s issues, no-one escapes the drama in this book! If you like a happily-ever-after, this may not be the book for you although since this book was first published in 2013 I am pleased to see that we have the opportunity to find out more, and maybe tie-up some of the loose ends by reading The Wild Flowers and I am going to have to buy a copy to find out exactly what life has in store for this family who has faced more challenges than they could ever have imagined.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (October 21)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

This week I am currently reading Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall which will be published by Legend Press on 31 October 2015.

Nowhere Girl

Please see yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster

I have recently finished reading Rutherford Park by Elizabeth CookeRutherford Park
Blurb

Snow had fallen in the night, and now the great house, standing at the head of the valley, seemed like a five-hundred-year old ship sailing in a white ocean…
For the Cavendish family, Rutherford Park is much more than a place to call home. It is a way of life marked by rigid rules and lavish rewards, governed by unspoken desires…
Lady of the house Octavia Cavendish lives like a bird in a gilded cage. With her family’s fortune, her husband, William, has made significant additions to the estate, but he too feels bound—by the obligations of his title as well as his vows. Their son, Harry, is expected to follow in his footsteps, but the boy has dreams of his own, like pursuing the new adventure of aerial flight. Meanwhile, below stairs, a housemaid named Emily holds a secret that could undo the Cavendish name.
On Christmas Eve 1913, Octavia catches a glimpse of her husband in an intimate moment with his beautiful and scandalous distant cousin. She then spies the housemaid Emily out in the snow, walking toward the river, about to make her own secret known to the world. As the clouds of war gather on the horizon, an epic tale of longing and betrayal is about to unfold at Rutherford Park… Goodreads

My review will follow shortly

Next I plan on reading The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell

The Shadow Year

Blurb

1980. On a hot summer’s day five friends stumble upon an abandoned cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. Isolated and run-down, it offers a retreat, somewhere they can escape from the world. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise…
Three decades later, Lila arrives at the remote cottage. Bruised from a tragic accident and with her marriage in crisis, she finds renovating the tumbledown house gives her a renewed sense of purpose. But why did the cottage’s previous inhabitants leave their belongings behind? And why can’t she shake the feeling that someone is watching her? Amazon

What are you reading this week? Please share!

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Challenge

20 Books of Summer 2015!

20-books-of-summer-master-image

Cathy at Cathy746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2015 and running until 4 September 2015, and this year I’ve decided to join her. I had already rationed myself from requesting quite so many review copies so the choices I make will be in addition to those that I have obligations to read and review.

As I’m competitive I’m signing up for the full twenty. My personal challenge is to read these twenty books from my bookshelf that I already own with at least half being physical books. Funnily enough I have plenty to choose from…

The only drawback with this challenge is I want to experience choosing a book that fits my mood so I have decided to begin by choosing a spread of genre to list the first ten books for my summer reading.

Summer Reading May 29

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

The Night Watch – Sarah Waters

The Anatomy of Death – Felicity Young

Letters to the Lost – Iona Grey

The Maul and the Pear Tree – P.D. James & T.A. Critchley

The Disappearance of Emily Marr – Louise Candlish

Every Secret Thing – Emma Cole

Dancing for the Hangman – Martin Edwards

Rutherford Park – Elizabeth Cooke

Under World – Reginald Hill

The Whicharts – Noel Streatfeild

I will be joining Cathy by tweeting my way through the challenge using the hastag #20booksofsummer and I will provide (a yet to be decided logo) to demonstrate when one of my reads is part of this challenge!

There’s still time to join in and Cathy has also provided a 10 Books of Summer image for those of you who feel aiming for 20 is quite frankly ridiculous. Visit Cathy to get the full details here

So what do you think to my choices? Do you have any suggestions on where I should start or perhaps you think some of these need to be put back on the shelf and forgotten about? All comments welcomed!