Customer Reviews for

Summerset Abbey (Summerset Abbey Series #1)

Average Rating 3.5
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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 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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