Saturday, July 28, 2012

Not in the Same League as Downton Abbey

Unable to find a position as a secretary, primarily because of the ways she speaks, Grace Campbell becomes a housemaid at a magnificent house on Park Lane. Here she meets Bea, one of the daughters of the house, who has recently suffered the pain of a disappointing love affair, and Edward, the son of the family. As many young men of his social position, he's gambling and spending too many late nights with his friends. Michael, Grace's brother, is also in the city. He becomes involved with Bea when he rescues her from a riot at one of Mrs. Pankhurst's rallies. Then war comes to these privileged young people and changes their lives forever for good and evil.

On the positive side, this novel is well researched. The setting is realistic and historical events are accurate. On the negative side, it's extremely slow. The characters are not particularly interesting. The author tries to inject some suspense by giving glimpses of what went wrong with Bea's romance, but it isn't enough to keep a reader's interest.

As with Tolstoys's famous novel on war and peace, the characters become stronger, or weaker, during the war and as a result more interesting, but it's a long slog to get to the war scenes. I can't recommend this book unless you're fascinated by the period. It isn't even close to the delightful period works like Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.