Author: Jane Sanderson
Publisher: William Morrow
Part of a Series: Eve Williams
Type of book: 1902 or 1903?-1904, period drama, expanding, upstairs/downstairs, wealth, nobility, cooking, recipes, mining accidents, Yorkshire, Great Britain
Year it was published: 2011
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.
The main character would be Eve Williams who was recently widowed. She was married to Arthur and together they had three children. Eve is best described as resourceful, talented, open-hearted and isn't afraid of trying to get things done. There is also Anna, a daughter of a merchant who is also widowed and who has a younger daughter Maya. She was married to a Jew (which explains her last name,) and she's not afraid of dreaming big as well as inspiring others to follow dreams. She is helpful and supportive of Eve. Of course there are also many other interesting characters such as the Earl and his eldest daughter Henrietta, and of course the Earl's wife as well as Tobias, their son and some of Eve's and Arthur's friends such as Amos Sykes. It would take me way too long to describe all the characters that populate this likable novel.
There are strong women even 100+ years ago.
Its written in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view. I have to admit that the first chapters were boring and kind of hard for me to get through because they were introductory. But once I got past them, the book became interesting, although I have to admit that it lacked conflict and in some ways Eve Williams' success wasn't very believable for me. But its a good book to relax to or learn more about coal mining or about upstairs/downstairs lives and so forth.
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.
This is a story of an ordinary life, at least for me. There is some drama, but mostly there is minutiae details, and its a feel-good type novel. It's historical fiction and takes place in England from 1902 or 1903 up until 1904. I did enjoy reading and the historical detail and attention in it, as well as learning something new (Perhaps soon I'll start reading Forsyte Saga,) but if you are looking for something scandalous then this isn't a book for you. However, if you are seeking a book with a British setting about 100+ years ago with strong heroines who succeed as well as details and attention to the Edwardian period where romance isn't at the forefront of the action, then you've found the right novel.
This is for TLC Book Tour
Jane’s 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 Shelves4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)