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Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Summerset Abbey" by T. J. Brown~Great Read!

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 in this stunning series starter that fans of Downton Abbey will love.

Rowena Buxton
Sir 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 Abbey. Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered 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 Buxton
Frail 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 forever...

Prudence Tate
Prudence 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 more 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.


Published by:  Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Pages:  292
Series:  Summerset Abbey #1
Author:  T.J. Brown
Website:  http://authors.simonandschuster.com/T-J-Brown/407358020/author_revealed
Purchase the book:  Amazon


Please visit this comprehensive website from Simon & Schuster where you can read an interview of Ms Brown!!  http://authors.simonandschuster.com/T-J-Brown/407358020/author_revealed

T.J. Brown begins a sweeping trilogy set in Edwardian England with Summerset Abbey, her historical fiction debut. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit the author at TJBrownBooks.com

You can see and/or order the others of her new series by clicking on this link:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/summerset-abbey-teri-brown/1110049205?ean=9781451698985


Ordinarily, I don't read romance novels.  But, this wasn't a typical romance...it was more a historical fiction than the summary led me to believe.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Though it tripped the edge of light reading at times, it very much carried enough substance in the storytelling to hold me rapt.  T. J. Brown is a good author with much to say about women in general and the Edwardian Period where they struggled for their independence, in specific.

The three primary women in this novel are acutely developed.  I was sometimes frustrated with each of their plights, which showed me how caught up in their fictitious lives I really was!  Each of them was beautiful, individual and interesting, alive and calculating.  Each wanted to break out of the bonds that held them back from independence in a society firmly grasped by male dominance.  I could feel the restraints as I read.

I thought the storyline flowed well and was loath to put the book down every evening when my eyes became itchy with sleep. I was especially fond of Prudence, and felt for her situation coming down from a quasi-daughter of the house to a maid for the same girls she had become a sister to.  It was painful to read about her inner and public struggles. Her mysterious birth heritage drove the story for me.

T.J. Brown has a fabulous hand at writing.  She brings you right into the setting of her cast of characters.  You feel their angst and their love stories as they develop.  You are given a sense of and see their lush surroundings.  You come to understand their inner feelings and what motivates each of their passions.  Her characters are vivid.

I loved this book for all its aspects of historical fiction and women's history.  Highly recommended.  Can't wait to continue the story in Book 2.

5 stars          Deborah/TheBookishDame

Second book in the series available here:  Amazon


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