This is novel’s setting tone and style is highly reminiscent of “Downton Abbey”, Edith Wharton, andHenry James. If you enjoy any of those three like I do, you’ll at least find this novel mildly interesting.
Like DA, this novel has several elements of soap opera. It has many predictable moments, public humiliation, men and women with mother issues, love affairs and love squares. Most of the characters are not well drawn. The writer has just enough about each of them, but not enough for me to find it remarkable or anywhere near a character study.
I really only liked Cora the protagonist towards the end. I identified with her because even with her spoilt upbringing, she is straight forward and frank. I felt bad for her as well. As a result, the ending left me dissatisfied. It reminded me about how I felt with the ending of James’s A Portrait of a Lady. I wasn’t exactly ecstatic or pleased with how it ended. It just ended almost abruptly.
It did make me reflect how the rich in those days had such insufferable lifestyles where you had to host so many parties, live in idleness and all the gossip and the social machinations that goes with it. It really makes you think how things are better without such foolishness especially for women.
This was a decent debut novel, and it got better as the somewhat predictable plot progressed. I started to care for the characters as it went on, but I don’t think this is an outstanding work. It suited my day of recovering from illness. It was a fine read for my mood.
Read Dec 22 2013.