"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

05 January 2015

2015 Book Review #1: Netherwood

What a fun book!

I spied this novel on the new book shelf at our town library over Christmas vacation and when I discovered that it's similar to Downton Abbey (my absolute favorite TV show and the only one I watch) I just had to take it out.

It was a good story and I'm going to be looking for the sequel. 


Lord Netherwood (Teddy Hoyland) and his wife Clarissa have 4 children:  Tobias, Henrietta, Dickie, and Isabella.  Tobias is about to turn 21 and Isabella is just 11 years old.  Henrietta is the child who is the most interested in the affairs of the estate, the town, and the coal mining business. But alas...she's a girl....and in those days......girls didn't help their fathers run the estates!  The family has earned their vast wealth from the three coal mines that they own.  Tobias is always getting in to some kind of scrape....and loves the ladies....even the peasant girls.  He is not interested at all in settling down and running the estate which he will inherit one day.  Clarissa loves spending money and loves being at their London home just as much as she likes being at Netherwood.  She and her husband have a good relationship although an emotionally distant one.

Eve Williams is the wife of one of Lord Netherwood's most faithful employees, Arthur Williams.  She manages their home and 3 children.  Their oldest, Seth, is 10 years old, followed by 2 little girls named Eliza and Ellen.  Ellen is just a toddler.  Even though Arthur's wages are low, they have a modest home and always make ends meet.  And then one day tragedy strikes, leaving Eve a widow.  She takes in another widow, who happens to be Russian, named Anna Rabinovich and her little girl Maya.  Anna begins to help Eve and soon they start a bakery business.

With this, comes interactions with the Netherwood family and it is soon clear that there are distinctions between both worlds.

However, Lord Netherwood takes in interest in Eve and helps her set up her business outside of her home.  His wife becomes infatuated with her excellent cooking and brings her to London for a month to cook for fancy parties.  It is in London that Eve meets a man who helps her to feel loved again.  He is one of the head gardeners at Fulton House (the London home) and is named Daniel.  They fall in love but Eve must return home to Netherwood and her children.  Will Daniel follow??


I enjoyed this book but it definitely felt like the author created some of the characters based on the popular drama Downton Abbey.  Lord Netherwood is so much like Lord Grantham (Robert Crawley) and yet his wife Clarissa is NOTHING like Lady Cora Crawley.  Henrietta, his oldest daughter reminded me of Mary Crawley and some of the "downstairs" characters reminded me of some of the downstairs characters on the show.

Other than that, it was a very nice piece of British literature. It is light, a good story with believable characters but just too much like other British books about the upper class vs. the lower class. The one thing that really bugged me though was that the editing in this book was terrible. There were many grammatical errors and careless mistakes. I dislike that and it just shows me that the editor did not do a thorough job before the book was published.

I found my self rooting for Eve, absolutely loving Anna and her spunk, and happy that the Lord and his daughter are kind, compassionate people.   There is suspense, a little mystery, romance, intrigue, tragedy and humor in this story.

Some of the food descriptions did go on and on....I thought the author could have done less of that.  However, the author does do a good job of teaching the reader about the early coal mining days and the conditions that miners had to deal with on a daily basis.  I enjoyed learning about that.

And really.....it's just a copycat of a very well done TV drama.  But if you are looking for an easy read this winter, with good character development and undertones of humor, then I recommend it.  It is not a difficult book at all.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this an 8.


Melanie said...

Thank you for this review. It sure does sound like a copy cat Downton Abbey. I imagine that there may be many of these with the popularity DA has. It does sound like some enjoyable light reading. Right now I'm deep into the Mitford series and probably will follow those to the end.

Dianna said...

Thank you for this review, Faith. I think I'll look it up and perhaps add it to my Wish List. I have some rather heavier reading on my list for this year...so I am also looking for some "lighter" reading to intersperse with those.