Thursday, January 14, 2016

Review: The Cavendon Women

Summary: From blockbuster bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford comes a stunning saga of love and loyalty set in early twentieth-century England. Cavendon Hall is home to the aristocratic Inghams and the Swanns who serve them. But after the Great War, the fate of these two families will never be the same... It all begins on a summer weekend in July of 1926 when, for the first time in years, the Earl has planned a family weekend. Everyone is intrigued by the invitation, and everyone has their own reasons for accepting it. As the family members come together, secrets, problems, joys, and sorrows are revealed. And as old enemies come out of the shadows and the Swanns' loyalty to the Inghams gets tested in ways none of them could have predicted, it is up to the Cavendon women to band together and bring their family into a new decade-and a new way of life. -- St. Martin's Press

Awhile back, I read and reviewed CAVENDON HALL by Barbara Taylor Bradford, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I appreciated the story and the characters, and that's probably because it reminded me a bit of Downton Abbey. And even though, it wasn't my usual reading fare, I didn't hesitate to pick up the next book in the series THE CAVENDON WOMEN. Nor will I hesitate to pick up the third book THE CAVENDON LUCK.

THE CAVENDON WOMEN picks up right where CAVENDON HALL left off in 1926 England. For those of you who are not familiar with the history of Cavendon Hall, it's an English estate owned by the aristocratic Ingham family who have been served by the Swann family for generations. The Inghams are are in a bit of disarray following World War I -- the heir wants a divorce to marry his true love and the aged estate is in need of major renovations. When the earl calls the entire family back home to make a major announcement, they realize that they must come together to deal with the various challenges facing the Inghams.

Once again, I was pleasantly surprised by Barbara Taylor Bradford and THE CAVENDON WOMEN. I enjoyed how she brought the Ingham and Swann families to life, and I really enjoy how she portrays the relationships (both professionally and personally) between them. Her characters are interesting, even the "bad" ones; and I even thought the romantic aspects of the book were well done. (And that's really saying something because I'm not a big fan of love stories.) The love affairs were relatively tame and very sweet, and I liked that they focused on love more than passion... although there was a little passion thrown in for good measure.

The author did a great job of taking the reader into the lives of all of the Cavendon women. The novel followed these four strong women through the ups and downs of their lives. Daphne, now married and a mother, felt responsible for saving Cavendon Hall; while Deidre, a career woman, finds herself in a new relationship that changes everything. The baby, Dulcie, is now all grown up and branching out on her own both with her job path and love interest. And finally, Cecily Swann (my favorite!) is finding huge success as a fashion designer... if only her love life could be going as well!

As much as I enjoyed following these women's lives, I have to admit that I also really enjoyed the setting of the story. I mentioned earlier that I'm a Downton Abbey fan and I love Edwardian England and its fashion. In THE CAVENDON WOMEN, the author brought this time period to life in the best possible way. I loved her descriptions of Cavendon Hall, even the state of disrepair; and her details about Cecily's designs were wonderful. I could picture all those beautiful purple and blue dresses as well as the wedding gowns with her vivid details!

Barbara Taylor Bradford and Downton Abbey fans won't want to miss THE CAVENDON WOMEN or any of the books in this series.

Thanks to Get Red PR for providing a review copy of this novel.


Mary (Bookfan) said...

This sounds so good!

bermudaonion said...

I've never seen Downton Abbey and don't think I've ever read anything by Bradford so I wonder if I'd like this. Since you enjoyed it so much, I'd be willing to give it a try.

Beth F said...

I love Downton Abbey but haven't read many books set in the time period. I'll keep Bradford on my radar.

Nise' said...

I have had the first book forever and need to get to it. Glad to know you enjoyed both books.