Monday, January 27, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: Netherwood by Jane Sanderson

Netherwood, by Jane Sanderson
464p, 2013, Historical Fiction
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received copy from publisher for an honest review

Two remarkably different worlds—one of wealth and privilege, the other of poverty and desperation—are about to collide in one shattering moment in this mesmerizing tale of high drama, forbidden love, and families fighting to hold on to what they have

Upstairs: Lord Netherwood, a coal baron, earns his considerable wealth from the three mines he owns. Supplying a bustling industrial empire with the highest-quality coal keeps his coffers filled—money he needs to run his splendid estate, Netherwood Hall, and to dress his wife and daughters in the latest fashions. And keeping his heir, the charming but feckless Tobias, out of trouble, doesn’t come cheap.

Downstairs: Eve Williams, the wife of one of Lord Netherwood’s most stalwart employees, cleverly manages her family’s well-being on the low wages her hardworking husband earns in the mines. But when her ordered life amid the terraced rows of miners’ houses is brought crashing down by the twin arrivals of tragedy and charity, Eve must look to her own self-sufficiency and talent to provide for her three young children.

And soon the divide between “upstairs” and “downstairs” is about to close . . . and neither world will ever be the same.

This book takes place in the early 1900's in a Yorkshire mining village called Netherwood. It's the story of the people of the town and their interactions with each other. Teddy Hoyland is the current earl and his wife is Clarissa. Teddy inherited the mines so is the town's main employer. He is well liked and respected. Clarissa would like to associate with people in her own class rather than mingling with the villagers. They have three children, Tobias (Toby), Henrietta (Henry) and Isabella.

The story centers around Eve Williams. She is married to Arthur, a coal miner, and they have three children, Seth, Eliza and Ellen. She works hard to keep their home clean and her family happy. One day, though, tragedy strikes and everything changes. She meets Anna during this time and is surprised at how much she begins to lean on her. She also finds strength she didn't know she had and turns out to be quite the businesswoman. 

I enjoyed this book! It was nice to read about a small village and the interactions and relationships that develop among the villagers. It's been compared to Downton Abbey but I don't really see that aspect. There's a reference to the Hoyland family feeling comfortable in the kitchen at Netherwood Hall but Eve didn't work there and the focus is on the town rather than on the relationships between the inhabitants of Netherwood Hall. It started slow for me as the stage was set and the characters introduced but once it started picking up, it was hard to put down. Their accents were kind of hard to read at times, too.

There are friendships formed but there are also enemies that are made. There are villagers I liked and ones that I didn't like. Eve's character shows a lot of growth and determination to keep going in the face of tragedy. She's likable and easily adapts to the situations she's thrown into. Her son, Seth, becomes difficult to deal with and she struggles with how to help him. 

We do also get to know the Hoyland family. Toby can be a jerk and Henrietta is sweet. Henrietta wants to be involved more in her father's business, but being a female, that is frowned on. I enjoyed spending time in Netherwood and look forward to learning more about all of them!

Stay tuned for my review on the sequel, Ravenscliffe (coming Tuesday, February 4).

Content: Two short sex scenes; mild swearing, including two uses of the "f" word.

About Jane Sanderson

A former BBC radio producer, married to author and journalist Brian Viner, Jane Sanderson has used some of her own family history as background for her first novel.

Find out more about Jane at her website and follow her on Twitter.

Netherwood Tour Stops
Tuesday, January 14th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, January 15th: BookNAround
Thursday, January 16th: Drey’s Library
Monday, January 20th: She’s Good Books on Her Mind
Tuesday, January 21st: Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, January 22nd: Bibliophilia, Please
Thursday, January 23rd: Mom in Love With Fiction
Monday, January 27th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, January 27th: Mel’s Shelves


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this overall. I hope the next book is even better for you!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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