Customer Reviews for

Summerset Abbey (Summerset Abbey Series #1)

Average Rating 3.5
( 25 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Summerset Abbey by T. J. Brown is a must-read for Downton Abbey

Summerset Abbey by T. J. Brown is a must-read for Downton Abbey fans.  This historical fiction captures the reader from the first page which reveals the death of a beloved father and his two daughters and their companion is who is like a sister to them.

This novel foll...
Summerset Abbey by T. J. Brown is a must-read for Downton Abbey fans.  This historical fiction captures the reader from the first page which reveals the death of a beloved father and his two daughters and their companion is who is like a sister to them.

This novel follows the life of three young women in 1913 England.  After the death of Victoria and Rowena’s father, they are forced to leave their home in London to live on a sprawling estate with their aunt and uncle.  The only way that their best friend and sister-like companion, Prudence, could go with them is if she pretends to be their ladies maid.  Forced into service, Prudence is determined to figure out who her family really is, so she is not a ladies maid for the rest of her life. Unfortunately whenever she mentions her name, people turn the other way.  Who is Prudence and why does everyone avoid her when she mentions her name?

This story is surrounded by romance, betrayal, secrets, and lies.  Following the lives of the upper social classes and the servants that serve them takes the reader on a magical ride.  This novel when you are finished with have you having with abated breath for the second in the series, A Bloom in Winter.

posted by srkromer on January 20, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Where should I start with ¿Summerset Abbey?¿ I¿ll start by sayin

Where should I start with “Summerset Abbey?” I’ll start by saying that this is a very depressing book. Which is not surprising, because it is set in a very depressing time in women’s history. This book made me cry. Not because there is a traumatic event like a death at ...
Where should I start with “Summerset Abbey?” I’ll start by saying that this is a very depressing book. Which is not surprising, because it is set in a very depressing time in women’s history. This book made me cry. Not because there is a traumatic event like a death at the end. No, I cried, because 100 years ago the lives of Prudence, Victoria and Rowena was life for women all over the world. Whatever its faults, this book is obviously well researched and flushed out. The dialogue feels authentic and the distinction between above stairs and below is very true to life.  It’s honest, even in the end and it’s that honesty that makes this story so unbelievably depressing.
I think that we are supposed to care about all three girls equally, but I could not bring myself to like Rowena.  Rowena’s stoicism and silence is intolerable to me. She spends a lot of time complaining about how everything falls on her. Victoria, on the other hand, has such spirit and conviction it is difficult not like her. Women like Victoria are the reason I have the right to vote, why I have rights and a career. Victoria is a forward thinker who refuses to be boxed in, just because she is a woman and has asthma. She will not be babied or taken care of.

Then there is Prudence. If I had to pick one word to describe Prudence Tate that would be good. Prudence is a good person. When Rowena waits until they are a few minutes from Summerset to inform Prudence that she is to become a maid, Prudence does not throw a fit. No, Prudence accepts her new lot in life and trusts Rowena to fix it. She goes to live in the servant’s quarters, takes all the crap thrown at her and is still a loyal sister to the Buxton girls. Prudence’s loyalty, her bravery and her good spirit is what helps to make this story so unbelievably sad.

I had my suspicions on what the book's big secret was, but I was still blown away by the ending. I was stunned and absolutely devastated. Then, it was just over. The book was complete and I was left feeling empty. I wouldn’t call the conclusion of this book a cliffhanger. In all honesty, it doesn’t even feel like a conclusion. It’s like the writer simply put down her pen and said “oh well, I guess I’ll just finish this in another book.”  Even if there is more installments to a story, each book should have a beginning, middle and an end. “Summerset Abbey” doesn’t so much end, or pause, it just stops. It’s like when you’re walking in a crowd and the person before you comes to an abrupt halt. You have no time to catch yourself before you bump into them or fall all over yourself trying to avoid them. That is how the end of this book felt.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book. It’s sad and had a tone of melancholy that starts on the first page and continues through on to the last. There are moments of triumph, revelation and joy, but this book is not about happy people who live happy lives. Do not expect a hollywood type of ending.

posted by BookGeekConfesses on January 15, 2013

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  • Posted January 20, 2013

    Summerset Abbey by T. J. Brown is a must-read for Downton Abbey

    Summerset Abbey by T. J. Brown is a must-read for Downton Abbey fans.  This historical fiction captures the reader from the first page which reveals the death of a beloved father and his two daughters and their companion is who is like a sister to them.

    This novel follows the life of three young women in 1913 England.  After the death of Victoria and Rowena’s father, they are forced to leave their home in London to live on a sprawling estate with their aunt and uncle.  The only way that their best friend and sister-like companion, Prudence, could go with them is if she pretends to be their ladies maid.  Forced into service, Prudence is determined to figure out who her family really is, so she is not a ladies maid for the rest of her life. Unfortunately whenever she mentions her name, people turn the other way.  Who is Prudence and why does everyone avoid her when she mentions her name?

    This story is surrounded by romance, betrayal, secrets, and lies.  Following the lives of the upper social classes and the servants that serve them takes the reader on a magical ride.  This novel when you are finished with have you having with abated breath for the second in the series, A Bloom in Winter.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Ordinarily, I don't read romance novels. But, this wasn't a typ

    Ordinarily, I don't read romance novels. But, this wasn't a typical romance...it was more a historical fiction than the summary led me to believe. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though it was rather light reading at times, it very much carried enough substance in the storytelling to hold me rapt with attention. T. J. Brown is a good author with much to say about women in general and the Edwardian Period where they struggled for their independence in specific.



    The three primary women in this novel were perfectly drawn for their purposes. I was sometimes frustrated with each of their plights, which showed me how caught up in their story I really was! Each of them was beautiful, individual and interesting, alive and calculating. Each wanted to break out of the bonds that held them back from independence in a society firmly grasped by male dominance. I could feel the restraints as I read.



    I thought the storyline flowed well and was loath to put the book down every evening when my eyes told me it was bedtime. The book kept me thinking about the girls in the hours I wasn't reading. I was especially fond of Prudence and her situation of coming down from a quasi-daughter of the house, to a maid of the same girls she felt a sister to. It was painful to read about her inner and public struggles.



    T.J. Brown has a fabulous hand at writing. She brings you right into the setting of her cast of characters. You feel their angst and their loves. You can sense and see their surroundings. You come to understand their feelings so well. Her characters are vivid.



    I loved this book for all its aspects of historical fiction. I highly recommend it! Can't wait to continue to story in Book 2.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2013

    Summerset Abbey is a turn of the century historical novel set in

    Summerset Abbey is a turn of the century historical novel set in England. I won't say it is a historical romance novel even though there are undertones of romance throughout this story.

    Three young women are rocked by the death of a loved one, forced to leave the home and lifestyle in which they have grown up and betrayed by their own family. Victoria, Prudence and Rowena must face new challenges and heartache as they discover themselves and solve the mystery surrounding Prudence's true identity.

    First, I love historical novels. There, I said it. However, I do not like all that I have read. Most are focused on the damsel in distress to be saved by the rakish lord of the manor. Summerset Abbey is not that kind of a novel. T. J. Brown was able to turn the three young women, who had lived the life of privilege without most of the social norms, to turn into stronger, independent women of the era. She mentions suffrage and the New Woman, two key terms in this period of history, and the move from automobiles to aeroplanes. She also brings into play the limitations on families in each socio-economic level and the disparity between the classes that still existed during the period. Issues as mundane as smoking and drinking, as females were not supposed to smoke at all and only drink small quantities of certain liquors, are integrated without much effort.

    Great touches. I am looking forward to reading more about the women in book two.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2013

    Summerest aby

    It was boring unmanagabke confusing stupid in other words it SUCKED ASS

    2 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Fast read!

    If you're a fan of Downton you will enjoy this fast engrossing read. I couldnt put it down.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 12, 2013

    Eh, not a great book. Shallow, predictable, poorly written. NOT

    Eh, not a great book. Shallow, predictable, poorly written. NOT like Downton Abbey in the least other than being placed around the same time frame and including servant and master story lines. I do not recommend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown is an Edwardian era novel set on t

    Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown is an Edwardian era novel set on the eve of WWI. It is a saga about three women, Rowena and Victoria Buxton who are sisters, and Prudence Tate, who is the daughter of the girls’ governess. All three were raised together and Prudence was treated as a member of the family. They lead a life of priviledge and prestige until their father dies. All three young women then become the responsibility of their uncle who moves them to the family estate, Summerset Abbey. Conflict occurs when Prudence is unwelcome by her aunt and uncle, and treated as a ladies maid to Rowena and Victoria. The story progresses with the difficulties and struggles the three young women must experience in their new circumstances.
    The author does an excellent job at recreating life in a manor house during the Edwardian era. I could visualize rooms, people, and places easily. As I read, I did find myself connecting the novel to the tv series Downton Abbey, which made the book even more appealing to me.
    Each of the characters are realistically depicted. The three women at the heart of the story are different in the way they handle the changes they must face after their father’s death, their hopes, their fears. Through Prudence, we can experience the responsibilities of servants and the differences in social rank from the upstairs, wealthier mistresses and masters.
    Well written, well edited, and an interesting read from cover to cover as secrets from the past are revealed. Definitely recommended, especially if you are a fan of Downtown Abbey like me!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Loved the story!

    I hope the sequel will complete the story -hate waiting until March.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Where should I start with ¿Summerset Abbey?¿ I¿ll start by sayin

    Where should I start with “Summerset Abbey?” I’ll start by saying that this is a very depressing book. Which is not surprising, because it is set in a very depressing time in women’s history. This book made me cry. Not because there is a traumatic event like a death at the end. No, I cried, because 100 years ago the lives of Prudence, Victoria and Rowena was life for women all over the world. Whatever its faults, this book is obviously well researched and flushed out. The dialogue feels authentic and the distinction between above stairs and below is very true to life.  It’s honest, even in the end and it’s that honesty that makes this story so unbelievably depressing.
    I think that we are supposed to care about all three girls equally, but I could not bring myself to like Rowena.  Rowena’s stoicism and silence is intolerable to me. She spends a lot of time complaining about how everything falls on her. Victoria, on the other hand, has such spirit and conviction it is difficult not like her. Women like Victoria are the reason I have the right to vote, why I have rights and a career. Victoria is a forward thinker who refuses to be boxed in, just because she is a woman and has asthma. She will not be babied or taken care of.

    Then there is Prudence. If I had to pick one word to describe Prudence Tate that would be good. Prudence is a good person. When Rowena waits until they are a few minutes from Summerset to inform Prudence that she is to become a maid, Prudence does not throw a fit. No, Prudence accepts her new lot in life and trusts Rowena to fix it. She goes to live in the servant’s quarters, takes all the crap thrown at her and is still a loyal sister to the Buxton girls. Prudence’s loyalty, her bravery and her good spirit is what helps to make this story so unbelievably sad.

    I had my suspicions on what the book's big secret was, but I was still blown away by the ending. I was stunned and absolutely devastated. Then, it was just over. The book was complete and I was left feeling empty. I wouldn’t call the conclusion of this book a cliffhanger. In all honesty, it doesn’t even feel like a conclusion. It’s like the writer simply put down her pen and said “oh well, I guess I’ll just finish this in another book.”  Even if there is more installments to a story, each book should have a beginning, middle and an end. “Summerset Abbey” doesn’t so much end, or pause, it just stops. It’s like when you’re walking in a crowd and the person before you comes to an abrupt halt. You have no time to catch yourself before you bump into them or fall all over yourself trying to avoid them. That is how the end of this book felt.

    For the most part, I enjoyed this book. It’s sad and had a tone of melancholy that starts on the first page and continues through on to the last. There are moments of triumph, revelation and joy, but this book is not about happy people who live happy lives. Do not expect a hollywood type of ending.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Reading!

    The setting is early twentieth century England, where automobiles and airplanes are still in their infancy. Women are still seen as not able to handle their own affairs and a proper young lady aspires only to make a good wife.

    Widower, Sir Philip Buxton defied Edwardian principles and raised his two daughters and their orphaned best friend to be independent, strong personalities, encouraging them to think outside of the box. Unfortunately, he becomes ill and passes away, and his older brother, the Earl of Summerset, takes over the handling of the estate and the guardianship of Rowena and Victoria. Prudence, always treated like one of Sir Philip's daughters is allowed to come along only as a servant, not as the sister she was to the other girls.

    The events that followed become a turning point for all three girls as they are expected to assume new roles in society, meet young men they have feelings for and dark family secrets are revealed. One of the girls will bend, one will become stronger, one will pull herself up and forge ahead into a new life on her own, while the damage done to the relationship these girls had may be irreparable, cutting each to the bone as new light is shed on the often shameful history of their family.

    Each character had their own strengths, most likable were Victoria and Prudence, while Rowena's potential was cut off. As the 'villain' in the story, Lady Summerset was superb, between following the nuances of the times, and her own devious machinations. The Earl was a goodhearted person, just weak under the pressures of his wife.

    This is well worth reading, and is appropriate for young adults, as well as adults, as it demonstrates the pressures society's expectations place on itself.

    This ARC copy was given to me by NetGalley and Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2014

    Too short and story lines not finished

    This book is the first in a series, but I was still taken aback when the book was suddenly just ending. I do not feel that enough of the started story lines had any resolution in this book. Though the story lines are intriguing and the characters interesting, I do not plan to read more of the series after being turned off by the way the novel ended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    Wonderful

    The era, the story and secrets, could not wait for the next page ot chapter, hope the nrxt one in the series is just as good!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

    Good characters and interesting story.

    Great for those who like historical fiction and romance. Can't wait to read the other two books in this series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    Interesting

    I usually don't read historical fiction but this was good i look foward to resding the fatd of Victoria and Rowrna.

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  • Posted November 22, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    I loved the three books in the series of Summerset Abbey. If you
    like fiction based on history, you will love this series as I did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2013

    Well, I've tried to leave a note 5 times that says how much I en

    Well, I've tried to leave a note 5 times that says how much I enjoyed this book and this series. I'm trying one last time. I really enjoyed this book and this series. I hope it continues.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    To: person mad at plot spoilers

    I totally agree with you! Plot spoilers are awful!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2013

    Plot spoilers

    Too many plot spoilers here revealing entire story line while bragging about getting their book for free. Bn, please ban these plot spoilers. Isnt this a terms of service violation by revealing thhe entire plot????

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Houma

    Not very well written. Very predictable. A disappointing read.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
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