Publisher: Gallery Books
Sir Philip Buxton was a man who believed in change and women’s rights. He was a man of reform, and didn’t care much for class distinctions. His wife died years ago, and he’s been the sole parent to his two daughters, who were always his pride and joy. Prudence Tate, the daughter of their governess has been like a third daughter to him. When their father suddenly dies, Rowena and Victoria are under the guardianship of their uncle until they turn twenty-five or marry. Their Uncle informs Rowena that he intends to sell their house, and have them move in with him. He believes that the girls were let go for too long, and he needs to teach them a thing or two about how things should be done when you’re a Buxton. Also, Prudence is not to come along. Rowena convinces her Uncle to allow her to come along as their maid.
Summerset Abbey takes place in 1913 when many changes are on the horizon. Sir Philip is a product of that change, and his daughters as well. His death is devastating for them. Rowena feels like she’s the head of the family, her sister has asthmatic episodes and she tries to protect Victoria by not telling her everything.
Prudence must come to terms with becoming a servant, and not belonging. Sir Philip treated her like family and the servants feel as if she doesn’t belong with them. She’s teased and taunted but doesn’t know where to go or what to do. It’s clear that there’s more to Prudence story then she knows. There a mystery behind her parentage, and I was kept wondering throughout the novel. I thought I knew what the secret was, but there was twist that I didn’t see coming.
I really enjoyed Summerset Abbey. I thought it was very well written, I loved the three girls and their strength in their new environment. If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, you will love this one. It has a very similar feel to Downton. I really enjoyed reading about the servant’s quarters as well as the family quarters. Brown delivered a fresh perspective on the distinctions between classes during this time.
Also, I love the cover of this one.