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Park Lane [Hardcover]

Frances Osborne
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 12.28 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Jun 2012

'Bea treads carefully on the thick carpet, quite deliberately like a servant. Her elder sister, Clemmie, tells her that it is "not done" to worry about being heard but Bea enjoys this oh-so-silent rebellion against convention. She teases back, "This is the twentieth century, Clem, things are about to change."'

London, 1914. Two young women dream of breaking free from tradition and obligation; they know that suffragettes are on the march and that war looms, but at 35 Park Lane, Lady Masters, head of a dying industrial dynasty, insists that life is about service and duty.

Below stairs, housemaid Grace Campbell is struggling. Her family in Carlisle believes she is a high earning secretary, but she has barely managed to get work in service - something she keeps even from her adored brother. Asked to send home more money than she earns, Grace is in trouble.

As third housemaid she waits on Miss Beatrice, the youngest daughter of the house, who, fatigued with the social season, is increasingly drawn into Mrs Pankhurst's captivating underground world of militant suffragettes. Soon Bea is playing a dangerous game that will throw her in the path of a man her mother wouldn't let through the front door.

Then war comes and it is not just their secrets - now on a collision course - that will change their lives for good.

Brilliantly capturing a deeply fascinating period of British life in which the normal boundaries of behaviour were overturned and the social hierarchy could no longer be taken for granted, Park Lane is as gripping and intense as Frances Osborne's number one bestselling The Bolter.

Frequently Bought Together

Park Lane + The Bolter: Idina Sackville - The woman who scandalised 1920s Society and became White Mischief's infamous seductress + Lilla's Feast: A True Story Of Love, War, And A Passion For Food
Price For All Three: 26.26

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; 1st edition (7 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844084795
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844084791
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 285,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frances Osborne ( is the author of two biographies, Lilla's Feast, and The Bolter, which was an international bestseller and is now being developed into a mini-series. Her new book, a novel, Park Lane, is set in the same, Edwardian, period and is published in the UK and US in June 2012.

Product Description


Praise for The Bolter 'A tragic and deeply moving tale ... far more gripping than any novel I have read for years' -- Antony Beevor Praise for The Bolter 'Frances Osborne has brilliantly captured not only one woman's life but an entire lost society' -- Amanda Foreman Praise for The Bolter 'An enthralling account of a dazzling, troubled life' -- Julian Fellowes

Book Description

* From the author of the bestselling THE BOLTER - comes a novel set in Edwardian London

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed 9 Oct 2012
Our book club in Dubai just read this and we were all looking forward to reading what promised to be a gripping read.

However - this was our feedback:

PARK LANE - most of us had high hopes for this book but were really disappointed by Osborne's lack of depth and fluidity. All of us felt short changed and often confused as to what had actually happened to supposed key characters at certain points in the book. The book scored between 3 and 5 so a real disappointing first novel for an author who has had bestselling non fiction books in the past. (Helen recommended we read Tracy Chevalier's Fallen Angel as it was set in the same time period but much stronger.)

4 out of 10 from me. Disappointed. :(
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great first novel 26 Jun 2012
By Flapper
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It would be easy to dismiss this as a 'bandwagon' novel cashing in on the success of Downton or Upstairs Downstairs, but what makes this different is the clear journalistic knowledge of the period that goes into this first novel. The historical backdrops are not just there for plot convenience (I'm referring to the real events that Osborne describes as her heroine is introduced to the suffragette movement for example) but give the fictional events a social depth and resonance that one won't find in Julian Fellowes' work (good though he is!) The painstaking research that was so enjoyable in 'The Bolter' has been transferred with style and skill to a fascinating period of historical upheaval that has been so oft visited by others, yet Osborne manages to make it feel fresh. My only criticism is that I would have liked the book to be a couple of hundred pages longer - the characters are so well drawn that I missed them instantly on finishing the book - a sure sign of a successful novel.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasurable Read 7 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Hardback Edition.

It is 1914; we are in London at 35 Park Lane, the family home of Lady Masters and two of her adult children, Beatrice and Edward. Beatrice is a young woman who feels constrained by duty and tradition and who wants to break free, but is unsure where to direct her energies. When her aunt introduces her to the Suffragette movement, Beatrice finds a focus and she is eager to throw herself wholeheartedly into the fight for votes for women, involving herself with the Pankhursts in militant actions that would horrify her mother.

Below stairs at Park Lane, is Grace Campbell, a young semi-educated woman who has come to London from her home in Carlisle with the hopes of securing a job as a secretary so that she can send as much money as possible home to her struggling family. Unable to find a job in an office, Grace reluctantly takes a job as a housemaid to the Masters family, but keeps her lowly position a secret from her family in Carlisle and also from her brother Michael, an angry young man with a social conscience, who has secured himself a position in London as a Solicitor's clerk.

As Grace waits on Beatrice, and Beatrice becomes further embroiled in the Suffragette movement, the nation moves towards war, and the two women become unwittingly linked in a way that neither of them would have thought possible; and while Grace keeps the home fires burning at Park Lane, Beatrice, as an ambulance driver, finds herself dealing with soldiers who have been horrifically injured at the front line. This story moves between the two main protagonists as we listen to their inner thoughts and observe the experiences of two women who are born into different classes, but who both strive to change their lives.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slow progress 30 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story moves slowly and is predictable. I kept having the feeling that i read something very similar before so lost interest.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too much like Downton Abbey 11 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a book club choice which did not rate highly. Most of us had enjoyed The Bolter, but this one did
not rate highly.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 1 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I prefer Frances Osborne's non fiction books.I found this book rather shallow and rather unoriginal,it seemed to race through the story.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written with very weak story 23 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not well structured as a novel. The two separate stories
are meant to be interwoven but this does not happen very well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Novel 16 Jan 2013
Frances Osborne has written an engaging and engrossing novel in the fine English tradition that has come down from Jane Austen. Bea and Grace are fully realized characters, as are their erstwhile brothers, Edward and Michael. Osborne creates an upstairs/downstairs world at once more believable than Downton Abbey but just as entertaining.

Seeing some of the negative reviews on this page was puzzling at first, but reading through them I have the feeling that these readers were expecting more of a light, 'romance' read, or a frothy sex romp, or something. But this is a fully realized novel with three-dimensional characters living out their story at a crucial period in world history.

In short---Buy it, read it, you won't be disappointed. You'll be looking forward to many more fine novels from Osborne in the coming years!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
A bit jumpy, characters are a tad sketchy and the ending is rather weak. Prefer her non fiction to be honest
Published 15 months ago by Mrs Lara Justine Holder
1.0 out of 5 stars very disappointing
Published 16 months ago by DENISE GRANT DENISE M GRANT
1.0 out of 5 stars sorry
sorry but just couldnt get into this book, i tried several times to read it, but got no further than the first chapter, it is still in my kindle so may try it again, one day, i... Read more
Published 16 months ago by 19FONTEINECOURT
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
A good read, well up to usual standard. I bought it for my kindle, it's an excellent story to read on a train as not too taxing but highly enjoyable. Read more
Published 16 months ago by anneemortimer
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting, but not absorbing
I liked the idea of the Upstairs Downstairs twin threads to this novel, Grace the maid and Beatrice the rich girl from Park Lane. Read more
Published 17 months ago by L. Bretherton
2.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps fiction isn't for this writer?
You see, having a 'name' isn't enough to make a novel. Sorry. Perhaps 'the name' stopped anybody pulling this apart and making it into a good book - because the basics are all... Read more
Published 17 months ago by London Matron
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read about suffragettes and the first world war
I bought this as holiday reading and was not disappointed. The aristocracy, suffragettes and the first world war make an interesting combination and the story is a good one. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Rosamond Joy
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