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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Gates of Rutherford by Elizabeth Cooke



If you like Downton Abbey then you will enjoy this book. Reminiscent of a past era the book follows the lives and loves of the Cavendish family and their retainers.

The year is 1917, the world is in the thrall of WWI and the Cavendish family are not exempt from its influence. From their daughter Charlotte to Louisa to losing all their more efficient workers the Cavendish family has to change their style of work and living though some of them are not willing to do so and actually do not do so. William is still distant, still not aware of what is happening in the personal lives of his staff and is certainly not interested. His wife Octavia lives openly with an American in London, having been refused a divorce. William believes in the false hope that she will return eventually and so he must be stoic and just go on. Charlotte marries for the sake of marrying and realises immediately what a bad move it was and Louisa has fallen in love with a stable boy, extremely "unsuitable", totally "unacceptable". Harry the son and heir is flying for the RAF but he too has his share of issues.

The era is such a good one - it signified the breakdown of the old social order and gave way to a new so that everyone was confronted with the change immediately. You accepted it and modified your life or you stubbornly clung on to the past which was the wont of the aristocracy. How they lived and how they expected to continue to live is told in this story very well. It may irritate some readers the attitude of the gentry and their total lack of any kind of feelings towards the people who made their life so comfortable, but this is history and we cannot change that.

The saga of the Cavendish family along with the romance of Louisa and Charlotte and the sadness engendered by WWI for the whole country is very descriptively told.

The book was sent to me by Edelweiss. 

3 comments:

Kathryn T said...

Does indeed remind me of Downton Abbey and really does seem to be a worthwhile read.

Literary Feline said...

I can definitely see the Downton Abbey influence in the description. This sounds like a good one. I like books set in and around WWII.

Anna said...

I can't wait to finish this trilogy. Glad you enjoyed it.