Cavendon Hall

Barbara Taylor Bradford
HarperFiction, €21.45
ebook, £10.99

Barbara Taylor Bradford is the glamorous Yorkshire-born author who began her worldwide fame with the release of A Woman Of Substance in 1979.

Her latest novel mimics the winning formula of Downton Abbey, following the aristocratic Ingham family of Cavendon Hall and their staff, in particular the Swann family, who have served the Inghams for generations. As the story unfolds it becomes apparent that an intricate web of affairs, secrets and scandal links the two families.

At first the story focuses on rather mundane problems, such as a ruined ball dress; however when one of the Ingham daughters is brutally raped it suddenly becomes far more gripping. The growing threat of the Second World War adds to the tension.

Although it is well-written and easy to read, the constant gushing about how good-looking, loyal and kind all the characters are can become a little annoying.

However, for anyone who shamelessly enjoys a period drama full of fancy frocks and repressed desires, this is a wonderful world to escape to.


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