This is not only the story about three daughters from an aristocratic family in Victorian England, but a detailed and well documented insight into a changing family in a changing society as well as valuable insight into English history.
Starting with The Great Exhibition in London in 1851, we follow the three daughters of the Vestrey household as they choose entirely different paths in life. One of the girls rises to the ranks of the Royal Household, another models for the Pre-Raphaelites and defy her family in a dangerous affair.
But perhaps the most interesing of the three is Caroline, who joins Florence Nightingale as a nurse in The Crimean War. In fact, the book tells a lot about Florence Nightingale as a person and her extraordinary work laying the ground rules for warfield hospitals, rules which are as up to date and useful today. Actually, as late as in the Iraqui war, the American health force used Florence Nightingales's basic rules as their main guidelines for setting up an American war hospital.
Nicola Thorne has a fantastic ability to write both entertaining and highly interesting and educational books. In this book, in addition to the personal stories of the main characters, the reader gets a wide insight into the political situation in Europe and the background for The Crimean War, as well as social life in England at this particular time.
Nicola Thorne is a highly intelligent and knowledgeable lady and a remarkably gifted storyteller. (She was born in South Africa, educated at London School of Economics and is now living in England.) To be entertained and taught at the same time is a most wonderful experience. At the back of the book there is an extensive list of literature referring to people and events in this novel - and I have personally been most keen to read more about Florence Nightingale.
I would like to give this book my warmest recommendations, as well as all Nicola Thorne's books, both in older and contemporary settings. There are lots of contemporary novels, preferred by many readers.
Due to a car accident, Ms Thorne is no longer able to write a new fictional book, but she has given us an extensive production to choose from. I urge new readers to get to know her, and "Daughters of The House" is a brilliant book to start with.