Cavendon Hall (Cavendon Chronicles, Book 1) Paperback – 6 Nov 2014
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‘Barbara Taylor Bradford returns to her roots with this classic saga of loyalty, secrets, passion and intrigue…if you’ve been suffering withdrawal symptoms from Downton, this is for you’ Daily Mail
‘A stately home, a dangerous secret and two families whose fates have been intertwined for generations…a gripping period piece set on the brink of the Great War. Exquisite escapism of the highest order’ The Lady
‘A glorious family saga for Downton Abbey fans…This is Barbara Taylor Bradford in her element, terrific stuff full of drama, passion, romance and danger.’ Sarah Broadhurst, Lovereading.co.uk
‘Few novelists are as consummate as Barbara Taylor Bradford at keeping the reader turning the page. She is one of the world’s best at spinning yarns’
About the Author
Barbara Taylor Bradford was born in Leeds, and by the age of twenty was an editor and columnist on Fleet Street. Her first novel, A Woman of Substance, became an enduring bestseller and was followed by many more. Her books have sold more than eighty-five million copies worldwide in more than ninety countries and forty languages, and ten mini-series and television movies have been made of her books. She lives in New York City with her husband, television producer Robert Bradford.
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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.
Although the story starts in the more formal times of 1913, I felt some of the dialogue between family members and friends was a little too stilted. And I think BTB must be totally in love with her character Lady Daphne as there were mentions of her great beauty and caring personality at every opportunity, which became a little irritating.
Despite the "cast of thousands" mentioned at the beginning of the book, there were very few intertwining stories which one would expect in a book of this nature. The story the family wove around the "premature baby" would surely never have been believed by anyone, and the explanation mentioned much later in the story would also have been frowned upon in high society. But everyone seemed to go along with this quite happily.
The First World War is mentioned towards the end of the book, but most of the characters are not mentioned at all for four or five years during this period, which leaves big gaps in the story when the characters are mentioned again.
The grand estate of Cavendon reminded me very much of the estate described so perfectly in Hardacre by C L Skelton. If you like this type of family saga, Hardacre is a much more engrossing read.
It is a light-hearted, lively and easy read. I did find it a little repetitive and predictable at times. The reiterance over and over again of the Swann family's motto, "Loyalty binds us" and the restating of the special connection to the Ingrams, became somewhat irritating. It put me in mind of Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers! I also thought the characters were quite one dimensional - the majority of them seemed too perfect. Nevertheless, it is an entertaining read, if a little bland. I read it for what it was - pure escapism!
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