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1913 In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society and the distant rumblings of war Rowena BuxtonSir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition Eldest sister Rowena was taught to value people not wealth or status But everything she believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies and the girls must live under their uncle’s guardianship at the vast family estate Summerset Abbe. As far as vacuous historical fiction goes this was actually pretty good In the vein of Downton Abbey and that s how it has been described by multiple sources Summerset Abbey is about life in the turn of the century Unlike DA though it does not glamorise the aristocracy and actually brings out the dark human cost of the aristocratic way of life The first of a trilogy Summerset Abbey is a pretty good attempt at British historical fiction by an American authorThe story centres around three women the sisters Rowena and Victoria Buxton and their friend Prudence Tate Prudence was the daughter of the Buxton girls governess but their father had always made sure that she was treated as one of the family and the three considered themselves as sisters When Buxton dies the three girls find themselves in for a rude shock Though raised with liberal values their father was not liberal enough to give them access to their inheritance Instead he leaves it in trust to their old fashioned uncle to control as he sees fit So much for his being oh so liberalThe uncle and aunt invite the Buxton girls to live in their house They love their nieces but don t want the low life Prudence in their house So the girls take her there as their maid and it is here that the ineualities of class structure emerge in full force Prudence used to a luxurious life suddenly finds herself at the dreg end of society and becomes and alienated from her sisters How she manages her life is only part of the story There is also a dark secret behind Prudence s very existence The book was very well written even if the Americanisms made me wince here and there The research was uite good and detailed and Brown made sure that the life was depicted properly for both the upper and the lower classes The story itself is nothing great the beauty of this book lies in its class depiction during this period I also really appreciated the highly realistic end to the romanceI am not so sure that I want to read the remaining two books of the trilogy as I have the sneaky feeling that they might not match up to this one But I just might pick them up since I enjoyed this one uite a bit

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Summerset Abbey

Er Prudence TatePrudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena and their bond is as strong as blood But by birth she is a governess’s daughter and to the lord of Summerset Abbey that makes her a commoner who must take her true place in society as lady’s maid to her beloved “sisters” But Pru doesn’t belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any than she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls And when a young lord catches her eye she begins to wonder if she’ll ever truly carve out a place for herself at Summerset Abbey. Flat meh I nearly DNF d at least 4 times but finally managed to power through with the aid of coffee chocolate The prose was odd in that it felt like YA both in style treatment of the subject matter but clearly it was aiming for an adult readership so everything just plodded along without any oomph meanwhile the cast was flat andor clich the twists fairly predictable It does improve somewhat in the final uarter but by then it was too little too late as I was indifferent toward or openly disliked all the MCs Victoria was the one I disliked least she could be twee annoying but at least she had some moxie personality Out of the others Andrew the footman who so doesn t deserve to be saddled with Susie the scullery maid were the only others I cared about enough to wonder as to their fates Overall just blah uninspired I won t be continuing with this series Sooner or later I ll learn not to bother with these Edwardian upstairsdownstairs books they either annoy me with their flaunting of intricate social research or put me to sleep with boring talky talk drama

T.J. Brown ¿ 5 Summary

Y Standing up for a beloved family member seuestered to the “underclass” in this privileged new world and drawn into the Cunning Coterie an exclusive social circle of aristocratic “rebels” Rowena must decide where her true passions and loyalties lie Victoria BuxtonFrail in body but filled with an audacious spirit Victoria secretly dreams of attending university to become a botanist like her father But this most unladylike wish is not her only secret Victoria has stumbled upon a family scandal that if revealed has the potential to change lives forev. Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at ve wrestled with my feelings on TJ Brown s Summerset Abbey several times and I think I ve finally put my finger on the problem I desperately wanted to love this book the time period offers a wealth of material but that being said I found the piece much of a challenge than I d originally anticipated and didn t end it as satisfied as I d hoped By far my favorite aspect of the book is the obvious care Brown put in to defining the social classes Lately I ve come across a lot of historic pieces that blur the line between master and servant choosing to disregard the social stratification that existed between the two Brown favors history and for that I am deeply appreciative The stark contrast between the Buxtons their household staff and the citizens of Summerset is abundantly clear from the first page to the last as finite in her fiction as it is in fact I also greatly enjoyed the story as it related to Prudence All things considered it is probably an unfair assessment but she is without a doubt my favorite of the three girls Alone and without a male benefactor Prudence s position is precarious from the get go and offers the most to the reader in terms of emotional drama intrigue and movement In contrast Victoria though interesting is almost dull She blends too easily into the background of the story her sweet and gentle demeanor overshadowed by her cast mates I can only hope we see of her in future installments that her character becomes complex and that she enjoy the same prominence as her counterparts in Brown s future works It would be a shame to see her continually lost in the shuffleLast I come to Rowena I think Brown was shooting for conflicted but something must have been lost in translation as I found her apathetic spoiled and indecisive More than that though Rowena is entirely one dimensional Where Victoria barely towed the line Rowena jumped clear over it freuently leaving me bored and yawningPerhaps the only thing as disappointing to me as Rowena s character was the ending The revelation surrounding Prudence felt rushed and disjointed Those characters to which it pertained were not fully developed in my mind and their sudden importance was particularly jarring I haven t yet given up hope for the series and though I am optimistic about book two A Bloom in Winter I will certainly be approaching it with a moderate degree of caution


10 thoughts on “Summerset Abbey

  1. says:

    Recently I had someone ask me to explain the tv show Downton Abbey to them and the closest explanation that I could find is that it's like an

  2. says:

    Originally Posted on Confessions of an Opinionated Book Geek35Where should I start with “Summerset Abbey?” I’ll start by saying that this is a very depressing book Which is not surprising because it is set in a very de

  3. says:

    As far as vacuous historical fiction goes this was actually pretty good In the vein of Downton Abbey and that's how it has been descr

  4. says:

    This is a tough one to review and in the end I find I'm agreeing 100% Erin's review and can't add much except for the mystery of the older EarlDukeOn page 43 the girls observe a giant portrait of their grandfather the eighth duke Yet their uncle the son of the old duke is the Earl of Summerset Late in the book on page #213 the grandfather is the old earl and on page #282 he is the late Earl of Summerset Note I have a finished cop

  5. says:

    Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at 've wrestled with my feelings on TJ Brown's Summerset Abbey several t

  6. says:

    My rating 25 of 5 starsA copy of Summerset Abbey was provided to me by Gallery BooksEdelweiss for review purposesThe year is 1913 and Sir Philip Buxton has passed leaving his two daughters all alone Placed into the care of their Uncle until the time they decide to marry their life becomes upended when they are moved from their home to Summer

  7. says:

    This is a Downton Abbey esue Books but even if I tried hard to enjoy it I must confess I didn't managed to like it The idea of the story is interesting typical from an Edwardian era But there is a lack of true emotion aan real engagement among the main characters which makes the reader to loose interest into the plotI hate when I finish a boo

  8. says:

    This was a book I was really looking forward to Mostly because I love historical novels but also because I LOVE Downton Abbey and this definitely sounded Downton esue And thankfully it totally wasI think this is a good book for fans o

  9. says:

    Flat meh I nearly DNF'd at least 4 times but finally managed to power through with the aid of coffee chocolate The prose was odd in that it felt like YA both in style treatment of the subject matter but clearly it was aiming for an adult readership so everything just plodded along without any oomph; meanwhile the cast was flat andor clich

  10. says:

    I've given this a C for narration and a C for content at AudioGals so I'm leaving it at 3 starsSummerset Abbey seems to have been clearly aimed at the Downton Abbey market and not just because of the similarity in the names Summerset is set in 1913 and is the first of a trilogy that follows events in the lives of three you

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