Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: Ravenscliffe by Jane Sanderson

Ravenscliffe, by Jane Sanderson
2014, 544p, Historical Fiction
My Rating=3 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

For fans of Downton Abbey . . . The peaceful beauty of the English countryside belies the turmoil of forbidden love and the apprehension of a changing world for the families of Netherwood.

Yorkshire, 1904. On Netherwood Common, Russian émigré Anna Rabinovich shows her dear friend Eve Williams a gracious Victorian villa—Ravenscliffe—the house Anna wants them to live in. There’s a garden and a yard and room enough for their children to play and grow.
Something about the house speaks to Anna, and you should listen to a house, she believes…Ravenscliffe holds the promise of happiness.

Across the square, Clarissa and her husband, the Earl of Netherwood, are preparing for King Edward’s visit. Clarissa is determined to have everything in top shape at Netherwood Hall—in spite of the indolent heir to the estate, Tobias, and his American bride—and much of it depends on the work going on downstairs as the loyal servants strive to preserve the noble family’s dignity and reputation.

As Anna restores Ravenscliffe to its full grandeur, she strikes up a relationship with hardworking Amos Sykes—who proposed to Eve just one year ago.

But when Eve’s long-lost brother Silas turns up in their close-knit mining community, cracks begin to appear in even the strongest friendships.

As change comes to the small town and society at large, the residents of Netherwood must find their footing or lose their place altogether.

My favorite part of this book was the relationship between Eve and Anna. Their friendship sustained each other through some rough times. I wasn't a fan of Eve's brother, Silas, but I did enjoy his role in helping Eve and Anna secure Ravenscliffe.

Eve's business is booming and she is engaged to be married, which hasn't made her relationship with her son, Seth, any easier. On his twelfth birthday, he signs up to work at the mine since he thinks that's what his father would want him to do. Eve is not happy with his decision but also realizes that he has to figure out on his own if that's really what he wants to do with his life. Her brother Silas has also returned and he is a shady businessman that clashes with her friends.

Anna is as spirited as ever and was determined that they were going to move into Ravenscliffe, a much larger home that they could all spread out in. She's smart and opinionated and I really liked her character. She grows close to Amos, who is now out of the mine and working for the miners' union. 

The Hoyland's are preparing for the king's visit so Clarissa is preparing to give her entire home a makeover. That keeps everyone hopping. Henrietta is still interested in her father's business and does all she can to stay involved. Tobias is chasing after Thea, an American, much to his mother's dismay. 

I was hoping to get to delve more into the personal lives of the women that worked with Eve. We do learn some of their heartaches and especially one woman's tragedy, but then their stories just fizzle out. It also would have been nice to have learned even more about the personal lives of the employees of Netherwood Hall.

I enjoyed the first part of this book and then, about two-thirds of the way in, tragedy strikes one of the families and at that point, I just skimmed through until the end. The book lost some of its charm for me after that as it became more dramatic and changed direction. It marked the end of an era and, while I enjoyed Netherwood and parts of this book were great, too, this will also be the end for me.

Content: Swearing, including three "f" words. Extramarital relationships (no details). Lesbian relationship (with some detail).

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.

Ravenscliffe Tour Stops

Tuesday, January 28th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, January 29th: BookNAround
Thursday, January 30th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, February 4th: Mel’s Shelves
Wednesday, February 5th: Bibliophilia, Please
Friday, February 7th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, February 13th: Mom in Love With Fiction


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

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