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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 January 2014
Set in Edwardian England this story tells of the Inghams, an aristocratic family, and the Swanns who are their honourable servants. Living in Cavendon Hall, a large manor in Yorkshire with the threat of World War One hanging over them, Charles, the sixth Earl of Mowbray and his wife Felicity are bringing up their six children, two sons and four daughters.Going back over a hundred years the Swanns have worked for the Inghams, living by their side and forever offering nothing less than loyalty and deep friendship.
This novel is about these two families and their entwined lives and how a tragedy affects them all.
An engaging read with some interesting and colourful characters, though too many to take in at once, thankfully the author has a list at the beginning of the book,much needed!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Cavendon Hall did not disappoint me as it swept me through the end of the Edwardian era to post World War I.

This tale of the Inghams, an aristocratic English family, and the Swanns, who are bound to the Inghams by loyalty kept me turning the pages until late at night.

Not only does Barbara Taylor-Bradford bring a large cast of characters to life but she neither avoids describing shocking events nor fails to convey joy,

I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Cavendale Women in which, in the author’s own words “the Swanns and Inghams will tell their own stories.”
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
I love books set around the time of WW1 so I was looking forward to reading this one. It is meant, I think, to be similar to Downton Abbey but it is sadly not. The characters are superficial and their actions are not explained. I don't want to go into a lot of detail as I wouldn't like to spoil the book for those who wish to read it. These are just a few examples - The Countess has issues with her marriage but no detail is given as to why these have arisen. Daphne recovers from her attack with no lasting effects - very unlikely in real life. The Swann family exist only to smooth out the difficulties the aristocrats get themselves into and are too dim too sort out for themselves. The whole thing is very unbelievable. WW1 is squashed into the last 100 pages of the book. Again, those who survive come back fit and well with no shell-shock, injuries, nightmares etc. I appreciate BTB's books are meant to be escapist instead of deep and meaningful but this one takes the biscuit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2015
As a pensioner I do not usually buy books on line BUT, made an exception in this case having loved "A woman of substance" How I wish I had my £7.50 back! It is, without doubt the worse and biggest fairy tale I have ever read. . I can't believe this is the same woman who wrote "A woman of substance" We have the Earl and owner of the hall seeking advice from a senior member of the "downstairs" people and, She,addressing him as Charles/Charlie Yea, in your dreams for those far off days. It was also SO repetitive with Daphne's beauty and dresses described so many times I wanted to scream! There was more padding in this book than Sue Ellen's shoulders in "Dynasty" As you will gather I will not be buying Cavendon Women. Nil points!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2014
This is laughably simplistic. Everything is just so silly and perfect it's almost nauseating. That said, I read it to the end. Haven't read a Barbara TB for a long time, and loved her Emma Hart books, not sure if she's changed or me. Very much Peoples Friend territory, but it's clearly not my cup of tea and won't be buying another.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
I started reading this book and felt bored, i have put it down and started reading another, every once in a while i go back to read a few pages just for the sake of finishing it. Not my cup of tea. I do like Barbara's novels but i do not think historic ones are her strongest point.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2014
This was a nice story of the bond between an aristocratic family and their retainers and the relationships that develop between the various charactors.

The story line was a little predictable and it is clearly intended to be the first of a series of books as it ended abruptly without coming to any conclusion. That is the main reason that I have rated it 3 star rather than 4 as it kept me occupied this week on a commute to London that was longer than usual due to flooding on the line between home and London but when the final page came up I thought "oh is that it".
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Cavendon Hall written by Barbara Taylor Bradford was not only a good read but also it was an excellent audio experience which I did enjoy. The book is based on the Ingham family and those who served in their household the Swann family. There are many characters within this very readable book and each of them really added to the story.
The main era of the book is just prior and during the First World War and though there was some mention of the war this book really based the story on the goings on of the household and those who lived in and the surrounding lands. This was one book which I know I will return too as the author Barbara Taylor Bradford is well known for not only being a great story teller but she can bring her characters alive through excellent writing. The main characters were for me Charles Ingham and his family especially the beautiful Lady Daphne Ingham plus her delightful younger sister Dulcie who always had me smiling whenever she was part of the storyline.
Why I liked this book so much was the constant story developed throughout, there was no slow times - everything mattered to the story for me there was no wasted words which makes a great read for me.
The reason I reduced my star rating was mainly because at times the story-line was just too sweet and rather far fetched, I do not know if this was because of the audio narration as the actual narrator was a bit annoying when doing the separate accents and voices but that was only my own personal opinion. For me it did not take away this was an excellent story and I am now looking forward to the next book in the series The Cavendon Women and I am hoping Cecily Swann has a stronger role in the story-line.
One other complaint I had was I felt I missed out in an earlier book as there was a lot of history between the Swann and Ingham family but the author only hinted at the reasons for this - I do hope this is explained further and in more depth why the Swann's are so protective of the Ingham family and the same for the Ingham's are extremely protective of the Swann's also.
Cavendon Hall written by Barbara Taylor Bradford is a great read and audio experience and I loved how the story was developed with the separate characters narrating their own story, I am happy to recommend this read to all readers of historical fiction. I would actually recommend it especially to those who loved Downton Abbey - Series 1-5 [DVD] as it has typically the same format.
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On a couple of occasions now I have had people recommend the author Barbara Taylor Bradford to me and when I came across a copy of Cavendon Hall I decided to give it a try as I love finding new authors.

The storyline. Follows the aristocratic family the Inghams and the Swann family who have served them for many years now in Cavendon Hall. The Earls second daughter Lady Daphne is a vision of pure beauty and he has high hopes for her to marry well but a disturbing event takes place that threatens not only Lady Daphne's future but could also destroy the Ingham name.

I wasn't sure how i was going to get on with this book as historical romance is not a genre I have ever really felt comfortable with but I was surprised how quick I managed to fall into this storyline. The authors strength is clearly in creating well rounded characters who you warm to quickly and although there are many characters in this book there is no confusion as to who is who.

Cavendon Hall was described beautifully and you could picture this Grand house easily in your mind as the characters moved around from the grand rooms and also down to the staff quarters. The loyalty between the Swanns and the Inghams was very strong and this came across right from the beginning of the book but for some reason it seemed as though the author needed to reiterate this and so it was constantly repeated throughout the book and between the characters about their bond and loyalty which became a rather tedious along with a few other points that were repetitive too.

I enjoyed the book up until Part 4, when the book reached this point it felt as though the book was steering down a different path and had begun to feel rather drawn out to me which is a shame after a strong start to the book.

I did enjoy this book even though there were a couple of negatives for me but I will definitely try another book by this author.
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on 4 May 2014
"Cavendon Hall" is a grand stately home in Yorkshire home to the Ingham family - the 6th Earl of Mowbray, his wife, 2 sons and 3 daughters. They are loyally served by an army of servants including the Swann family who have been with the Inghams for generations. The book opens in 1913 when life is glorious but in the background the storms clouds of war are gathering and by the time the year is out nothing for the family will ever be the same again.
The book follows the family through 6 years of trials and tribulations, from the opulence and extravagance of post war Britain, through the trauma of World War 1 and the briefly (perhaps a bit too briefly) life after the war.
I enjoyed the book but the only downside was that the storylines didn't seem to be properly developed. The beginning of the book was great but as it went on the book began to feel like a series of ideas for future books and storylines were introduced but fizzled out. In my opinion, there were enough under developed storylines to be made into 3 or 4 separate books. I think that too long a time period was crammed into one book - good storylines were wasted.
The book would have been much better if Barbara Taylor Bradford had concentrated on one or two storylines and developed her characters more because as I reader I felt I had missed out on so much detail/background of the characters.
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