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The Wild Dark Flowers: A Novel of Rutherford Park Paperback – July 1, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425262596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425262597
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Wild Dark Flowers:
"A charming, intriguing novel. Some scenes are reminiscent of two popular TV series, Upstairs, Downstairs, and Downton Abbey, which have similar subject matter. Her research is excellent. The various battle scenes in France are completely riveting, and her portrayal of the sinking of the Lusitania is heartrending. This book is a perfect summer read." --Historical Novel Society

"Simply delicious...Like “Downton” ...as addictive as a soap opera." --Record-Courier

Praise for Rutherford Park:
A breathtakingly beautiful book. Cooke portrays an aristocratic dynasty that in 1914 was poised on the brink of extinction, as ponderous as the huge dinosaurs but just as magnificent. The exquisite intimacy of the writing and of the haunting love story drew me into this elegant world so entirely that I couldn't imagine ever leaving it. The vivid characters and understated heartbreak of their conflicts, above and below stairs, are depicted with sensitivity and insight. Superbly researched, a real treat.”—Kate Furnivall, author of The Russian Concubine
I found myself addicted to Rutherford Park, much as I was to Downton Abbey. I reveled in delicious detail about life in a great country estate, all the while waiting to learn: would Octavia’s family survive or would they be torn apart by the forces converging on them: personal failings, society’s excesses, and Europe’s Great War?”—Margaret Wurtele, author of The Golden Hour
“Beautiful, melancholy and richly detailed, Rutherford Park elegantly depicts the lives within an English country house on the cusp of a new age. Elizabeth Cooke evokes classic authors like Vita Sackville West and Frances Hodgson Burnett.”—Natasha Solomons, author of The House at Tyneford
Reminiscent of Catherine Cookson, a heart-aching story of an old world order and class divides set against Edwardian England.”—Judith Kinghorn, author of The Last Summer
With its vivid descriptions and memorable characters, Rutherford Park drew me in from the first page.  Richly textured with historical details, the novel captures perfectly the pre-World War I mood and atmosphere of the grand Yorkshire house and the lives of those who inhabit it.  The final page left me thoroughly satisfied, yet wishing for more. Thank you, Elizabeth Cooke, for a wonderful story and the promise of another.”—Kelly Jones, author of The Woman Who Heard Color
Comparisons with Downton Abbey on the eve of WWI are inevitable, but Rutherford Park gives a more comprehensive and realistic look at the farms and mill villages that sustained the great houses and shows us the inevitable cracks in their foundations.  Compelling.”—Margaret Maron, author of the Judge Deborah Knott series

About the Author

Elizabeth Cooke lives in Dorset in southern England and is the author of twelve novels, including Rutherford Park. She has a long-established reputation for vivid storytelling and historical accuracy. Elizabeth's family originate in the North Yorkshire Dales—Bronte country—and her grandfather worked at Kiplin Hall there, where he was one of the "downstairs" staff. His life, and Yorkshire itself—both its outstanding natural beauty and the industrial life of its mill towns and cities—were the inspiration for Rutherford.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Viviane Crystal VINE VOICE on July 1, 2014
Format: Paperback
Elizabeth Cooke has written a noble, admirable follow-up novel to Rutherford Park: A Novel. The stereotypical characters and events of old are all about to be blown to bits!
Harry Cavendish has grown up as a Dad and now is about to serve as a member of the Royal Flying Corps fighting in World War I in 1915. The world’s not a pretty place at all and aristocracy and servants are all expected to “do their part” in the war effort at home and abroad. The dreams, the fantasies and the reality unfold in amazing, step-by-step scenes that grip the reader’s full attention and participation immediately, never flagging throughout the 300+ pages that follow.
Harry’s mother, Octavia, has dramatically changed. She’s suffered a tremendous loss of her great love, lives amid the frozen shambles of a marriage and is trying to find purpose in her life. She’s a suffragette before her time and begins making a difference on the home front by forcing healthy and safe changes in those who work in the family business. William, her husband, must face reality to recover from a broken heart, a truth previously hidden by the “stiff upper lip” so much part of the problem with the upper class in England at that time.
Servants and even the town’s chaplain join the military as well; their descriptions of before and after the “Great War” are brutally surrealistic but oh so real!
Octavia’s lover, John, writes letters to his love every day and is about to make the most pivotal journey of his life, a stunning portion of this powerful novel in so many ways.
The Wild Dark Flowers: A Novel of Rutherford Park is a very well-crafted story involving changes that force several conclusions about war and relationships but do so in a style full of tension and evolving progress.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marcella on July 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The Wild Dark Flowers is the second novel in the Rutherford Park series. If you've not read Rutherford Park, I would urge you to do so before reading this book. I didn't read it first, and while Elizabeth Cooke does a fantastic job of laying out the story, I felt as if I didn't get a clear picture.

Who will like this book? Fans of Downton Abbey, Upstairs, Downstairs, and the like. Rutherford Park is a huge estate (like Downton) that is run by a small army of servants and staff. And just like Downton Abbey the story focuses not only on the family but the staff as well. So you get a broad picture of how the war had an effect on every class.

Lord and Lady Cavendish are trying to repair their marriage after her affair with the American. William knows that Octavia still has romantic feelings toward her seducer, but he still tries to do everything in his power to win her back. The Cavendish's have many more worries to contend with. They worry over their children, especially their son who is involved in the war. They worry over the household and the staff that has been sent or is going off to war.

This story is full of emotional turmoil that will keep you turning pages until the very end. It would be hard to put in every detail and focus on every story line (there are a few) without giving away the entire plot or making this review thirty pages. The Wild Dark Flowers is a wonderfully written book that will leave you wanting more. This is the series to read while you're waiting for new episodes Downton Abbey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on August 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Cavendish family is thrust into the horrors of trench warfare at home and in France as the saga continues. Yorkshire is not spared the sorrows of war as societal shifts are forced onto centuries of tradition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Phelan on September 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Elizabeth Cooke is a fantastic writer. The Wild Dark Flowers gives a more heartbreaking glimpse of aristocratic life during World War I than what you will find in other period novels. It is a gripping read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MiMo on July 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have become so involved in both WWI and WW2 novels. This one is excellent and follows the first which is also fine. A whole feeling of that time period. Sad but out of which our own world has grown.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maria Luisa perez on November 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well-written novel in the spirit of Downton Abbey.
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