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Summerset Abbey Paperback – January 15, 2013
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“SUMMERSET ABBEY is the first installment of an ambitious historical romance trilogy centering on the excesses and decline of the peerage in Edwardian-era Britain […] the romances entertain and keep the reader’s full attention. There are many cute couples who interact quite charmingly. Each character seems to have an equally alluring but individual personality, and the dialogue is well done. I would challenge anyone who feels they can guess the outcomes of all the pairings to have it figured out from the start; you’ll be hard-pressed … [Summerset Abbey] is a Cinderella story with a sound historical focus, detailing an evolving culture in the midst of concurrent romances.... The appeal for future installments is good, making this a series many will buy and recommend to friends.” (Book Reporter)
“A solidly entertaining Edwardian novel that will clearly appeal to fans of PBS’s Downton Abbey.” (NY Journal of Books)
"[A]n emotional novel that shares the tests of three young women’s strength, principles and loyalty that fans of Downton Abbey would enjoy." (Deseret News)
"Summerset Abbey is a smashing debut for T.J. Brown. While the novel does pay tribute to Downton Abbey in some ways, it is so original and unique with the story of the three young women. Brown makes Rowena, Victoria, and Prudence each come to life...whether it with a handsome pilot, uncovering family secrets, or struggling as a lady's maid. Brown beautifully captures the relationships between the women." (Examiner.com)
"Loyalties are tested, passions found, and secrets are uncovered as Rowena,Victoria, and Prudence confront their futures [...] The author completely immerses us in the world: the details of the house, the customs, the contrast between the haves and the have-nots, the clothing, the food – I experienced it almost as vividly as watching the dramatization of this era on television." (Jamie Brenner Heroes and Heartbreakers.com book review)
"Summerset Abbey, the first book in the Summerset Abbey series, sets the stakes high and will leave readers dying for more. It has definitely rekindled my love for all things historical fiction." (Katie's Book Blog)
"Wonderful and captivating tale of women raised to think ahead of the curve!" (MissWordy.com)
"Full of mystery, scandal, romance, and intrigue!" (Book Loving Mom)
"Summerset Abbey surpassed my expectations… If you’re looking fora fun, quick read to get you through the week until the next Downton Abbey episode, or if you’re looking for a wonderful new historical fiction series, Summerset Abbey is the book for you. I loved it and absolutely cannot wait for more!” (The Pretty Good Gatsby Book Reviews)
“[T]he story has enough twists, turns and secrets…to make all of us loversof Edwardian fiction happy!” (NovelChatter.com)
"Fans of PBS's Downton Abbey will be enthralled by the plot." (30SecondMom.com)
“If you like Downton Abbey, you're going to LOVE …Summerset Abbey!…Riddled with secrets, mystery and scandal, [Summerset Abbey] will pull you in from the very start and capture your heart and keep you captivated until the final page. The trilogy is sure to delight all Downton Abbey fans, and keep you entertained until season 5 is finally upon us!” (The Daily Basics.com)
“Author T. J. Brown has richly drawn these shifting times through well-drawn characters, compelling plotlines and conspiracy on nearly every other page.… [T]his novel will dazzle you… It’s the bee’s knees!” (AustenProse.com)
“Everything I loved about this book was everything I love about Downton Abbey. The strong female heroines who are also hopelessly sheltered and pampered. The class tension between upstairs and downstairs. The good intentions of the upper class who wish to treat everyone equally...but also don't want to lose their servants or their titles […] I can recommend Summerset Abbey with confidence for fans of the genre.” (Cozy Little Book Blog)
About the Author
T.J. Brown begins a sweeping trilogy set in Edwardian England with Summerset Abbey, her historical fiction debut. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit the author at TJBrownBooks.com.
Top customer reviews
I thought it was just ok, with the mystery element surrounding Prudence's birth not much of a mystery at all. The whole plot surrounds her birth, but while it takes the whole novel for the characters to solve it, I figured it out halfway through. It made it so the rest of the mystery dragged on, and you wished it didn't take up as much of the plot as it ended up doing. As well, I wouldn't really characterize this as a historical fiction novel. While there are some elements that showcase the time period (such as the contention between upstairs and downstairs), the book is more about the drama surrounding the characters than illuminating this moment of time in England.
Overall, it was a decent read but nothing special. I've enjoyed other books much more about this unique time period in England than this one.
A great historical fiction read. My only complaint---the ending was abrupt. I mean, the story was all there and the pieces of the plot all completed, but it went too fast. A few more pages, maybe even a chapter or two more to fully live the ending of this episode---that's all I ask.
When their father dies, Rowena and Victoria are forced to move with their uncle into Summerset Abbey. The biggest problem is they do not want to part from their dearest friend Prudence, whose late mother was their governess, and who was raised along side them as their sister. The Earl at first refuses to allow Prudence to come, but relents when Rowena assures him Prudence will be there as the girls' ladies maid. This is only explained to Victoria and Prudence upon arrival at Summerset Abbey. Prudence accepts this difficult situation, as she does not want to be parted from the only family she feels she has left. She immediately finds life very different as a servant.
This was a fun and interesting book, but I was left a bit cold by the character of Rowena, who comes across as weak and morose. I am hoping to learn more about these characters in the next two books in this trilogy!