Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Gates of Rutherford by Elizabeth Cooke

Opening Sentences: The rain fell softly on the day that she was to be married. All night long Charlotte had been dreaming of her old home at Rutherford Park - she thought that the sound of the downpour outside was the water rushing through the red stones of the riverbed by the bridge.

Synopsis: Return to the statley environs of Rutherford Park and the embattled Cavendish familyfrom the author of The Wild Dark Flowers.

The rain fell softly on the day that she was to be married…Sometimes the longing for the old untouched days at Rutherford would return to her; the innocence of it all, the feeling that England would never change…Charlotte Cavendish has been dreaming of her old home at Rutherford Park. It is April 1917; she is nineteen years old. And everywhere there is change. The war still rages on the Continent, where her brother fights for the Royal Flying Corps. Her parents’ marriage is in jeopardy, with her mother falling for a charming American in London. But not all is grim. Charlotte is marrying Preston, the blinded soldier whom she nursed back to health. Her parents couldn’t be happier about this. The young man hails from a well-established and wealthy family in Kent, and he’s solid and respectable. They hope he’s the one to tame their notoriously headstrong daughter. But as time passes, Charlotte slowly comes to the realization that she is not truly happy. And for a reason she is only just beginning to understand. A reason she dare not reveal to the family—or the world…

The Gates of Rutherford is a family saga of the Cavendish family. It is the third book in the series following on the tales of and Rutherford Park (Book 1) and The Wild Dark Flowers (Book 2). I had no opportunity to read either of the earlier books, and although I wish I had read the series in the order they were meant to be read, I was still able to follow along despite the references to the earlier plots.

Rutherford Park is a stately manor. The story takes us into the lives and loves of the Cavendish family, with all the rank and pomp of the nobility vs the working class just like the tv series Downtown Abbey. The story highlights the struggles of a noble family to adjust their lives in the face of the upheaval caused by World War I. It clearly depicts the erosion of societal ranks and the struggles the gentry faced as they tried to cling to what remained of their fading lifestyles. Elizabeth Cooke brings her characters to life with brilliance, aptly describing love, loss, and the horrors of war. A nice historical saga of a family torn between the future and the past.

Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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