Friday, May 16, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Pages: 415
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: April 1, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes an epic saga of intrigue and mystique set in Edwardian England. Cavendon Hall is home to two families, the aristocratic Inghams and the Swanns who serve them. Charles Ingham, the sixth Earl of Mowbray, lives there with his wife Felicity and their six children. Walter Swann, the premier male of the Swann family, is valet to the earl. His wife Alice, a clever seamstress who is in charge of the countess's wardrobe, also makes clothes for the four daughters. For centuries, these two families have lived side-by-side, beneath the backdrop of the imposing Yorkshire manor. Lady Daphne, the most beautiful of the Earl’s daughters, is about to be presented at court when a devastating event changes her life and threatens the Ingham name. With World War I looming, both families will find themselves tested in ways they never thought possible. Loyalties will be challenged and betrayals will be set into motion. In this time of uncertainty, one thing is sure: these two families will never be the same again. Cavendon Hall is Barbara Taylor Bradford at her very best, and its sweeping story of secrets, love, honor, and betrayal will have readers riveted up to the very last page."
Charles Ingham, the sixth Earl of Mawbray, has a large family and a beautiful Yorkshire home, Cavendon Hall.  The Ingham's can count on the Swann family who have not only worked for them for years, but also have sworn to "protect" them.  Daphne, the best looking of the Ingham daughters, comes into some trouble just before she is to be presented to society.  The Swanns swoop in and come up with a plan so the Inghams avoid scandal, but that doesn't take into account how Daphne's life has changed forever.  Also, long-lost second cousin, Hugo Stanton, comes back into the Ingham's lives and is quickly enamored with Daphne.  Could he be a possible suitor for Daphne? There's also many pages dedicated to the interesting Swann family, such as daughter Cecily, a masterful seamstress, and Charlotte Swann, who manages the Ingham estate.  When it comes to Cavendon Hall, the Swanns will do anything to make sure the Inghams avoid scandal, but Daphne's situation is definitely going to test the family.  Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford is perfect for fans of Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey.  There's a drama, wealthy families, upstairs/downstairs intrigue, and dark family secrets in this historical novel, which makes it an entertaining read for vacation.

There are many characters in Cavendon Hall and the ones that I found to be most captivating were Daphne Ingham, the beautiful daughter, and Cecily Swann, the talented seamstress and expert on decor.  Daphne's story truly broke my heart, especially with what happens to her.  Thankfully she has a supportive family to lean on as well as the Swanns to help clean up the scandal.  Also, I really enjoyed Cecily Swann. She was my favorite character in the novel. I love an underdog, if you will, and I wanted her to move away from Cavendon Hall and pursue her dreams as she is extremely talented. 

Regarding the other characters in Cavendon Hallthere are a lot!  As usual with stories that have an Upstairs, Downstairs vibe, there are many, many characters to keep track of.  Bradford jumps from various characters' perspectives (both upstairs and downstairs) and I traditionally have a hard time with this as I feel like I don't get to know each character very well.  On one hand, I liked learning different characters' perspectives on situations, but at other times, I just wanted to get back into the overarching conflict concerning Daphne as well the search for a possible villain.

The setting of Cavendon Hall was pretty fantastic. Bradford did a great job describing all of the luxury and the beautiful home.  Fans of Edwardian England won't be disappointed in that aspect of the novel.  So, if you are looking for a book this summer to hold you over until the next season of Downton Abbey, look no further!

Thanks to St. Martin's, I am hosting a giveaway for one gorgeous hardback copy of Cavendon Hall to a lucky US reader. The deadline is May 25th and please refer to my giveaway rules.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love an underdog as well. I do love the setting of this book, but I kind of always get confused when there are way too many characters in the book. I haven't watched the series Downtown Abbey, but I should. Everyone I know loves it. :)

    1. OMG. You must watch Downton, Nina. You'd love it! The setting of this book is pretty fantastic and one of the things I liked most about this book. Thanks for visiting and glad to have you back to blogging!

  2. I heart the cover.

    Great review doll!

    (not an entry)

    1. Me too…such a fabulous cover and I think it captures the book perfectly. Thanks for visiting, Juju!

  3. I am eager to give this book a try. I know nothing will measure up to Downton Abbey but that doesn't stop me from reading similar fiction. I usually like the stories of the servants more than the aristocrats too.

    I love that dress! Too bad St. Martin's Press didn't give you a copy of the dress to give away :)

    1. I completely agree. I am still interested in the Downton like reads, even though I know it won't be as good as Downton. It was definitely an entertaining read and I did like the servants more just as you said! That's funny you said that about the dress…that's what initially attracted me to the book! I just love it! Thanks for visiting, Christina!


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