Rutherford Park: A Novel

Rutherford Park: A Novel

by Elizabeth Cooke


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Rutherford Park: A Novel by Elizabeth Cooke

Snow had fallen in the night, and now the great house, standing at the head of the valley, seemed like a five-hundred-year old ship sailing in a white ocean…

For the Cavendish family, Rutherford Park is much more than a place to call home. It is a way of life marked by rigid rules and lavish rewards, governed by unspoken desires…
Lady of the house Octavia Cavendish lives like a bird in a gilded cage. With her family’s fortune, her husband, William, has made significant additions to the estate, but he too feels bound—by the obligations of his title as well as his vows. Their son, Harry, is expected to follow in his footsteps, but the boy has dreams of his own, like pursuing the new adventure of aerial flight. Meanwhile, below stairs, a housemaid named Emily holds a secret that could undo the Cavendish name.
On Christmas Eve 1913, Octavia catches a glimpse of her husband in an intimate moment with his beautiful and scandalous distant cousin. She then spies the housemaid Emily out in the snow, walking toward the river, about to make her own secret known to the world. As the clouds of war gather on the horizon, an epic tale of longing and betrayal is about to unfold at Rutherford Park…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425262580
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/02/2013
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 245,337
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Elizabeth Cooke lives in Dorset in southern England and is the author of twelve novels, among them the international bestseller The Ice Child. Her last book, the non-fiction The Damnation of John Donellan was described as "a masterpiece" by The Times. She has a long-established reputation for vivid storytelling and historical accuracy.

Elizabeth's family originates in the North Yorkshire Dales - Bronte country - and her grandfather worked at Kiplin Hall, 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 Park. Elizabeth is currently working on the second Rutherford book.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“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

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Rutherford Park 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Harry Cavendish is a lady’s man, thinking nothing of seducing the maids in his parents’ home – that is, if one can think of a residence where the father, William, rules both wife and children without any warmth and guidance beyond rules.  But Harry’s gone too far this time, leaving Emily, the housemaid, pregnant and so distraught that she acts in a devastating way; Harry at first doesn’t seem to care but it seems Emily’s demise has actually filled him with guilt and remorse.  However, there are rules for the upper class, very much like the ones so many have viewed on Downton Abbey, the extraordinary popular British TV series.  One can’t marry below one’s class and concentrates on cleaning up the messes that occur as humans basically are flawed, no matter what class their origin! Harry’s mother, Octavia, seems a cold woman but it’s really not so at all.  She secretly arranges for Emily’s child to be cared for and then begins to contemplate how she herself should react (or not) to her suspicions about her husband’s infidelity.  Servants can’t be told anything directly or even have hints dropped, although they always know more about the comings and goings of the family than the family itself.  Harry wants desperately to fly, especially with WWI looming.  It would also be a fortuitous escape route for him, guaranteeing that lack of presence would mean lack of responsibility for the suffering he’s left behind him.  Octavia, on the other hand, wants Harry to deal with it all.  But for a very understandable way, she knows where he learned his “privileged” status, the same way her husband did, despite the fact that he married into her wealth and not vice versa. She'll have to make a choice soon or change their entire lives. But now a young man approaches William Cavendish with a claim that William causes preposterous.  Yet that claim assumes threatening status when William’s daughter, Louisa, disappears, what will be the response of these parents?  And what of the woman who hates Octavia because she secretly loves William – for years! Rutherford Park: A Novel is a sweeping story involving changes happening to both upper and lower classes of pre-World War I England as well as industrial changes throughout the country.  The novel races along with increasingly different relationships and changes that mandate a different way of living.  How these challenges are met and the maturing of all characters creates gripping reading that neither lags nor is reduced to simplistic responses and answers.   Excellent historical fiction that stands up to its comparison and contrast with the beloved Downton Abbey and even exceeds it in some ways.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted to like this book but found that I couldn't. The writing style was choppy... as soon as there was a hint of development with a character or the plot that grabbed my interest, the author abruptly jumped scenes to random back stories and excessive descriptive details that read as self-indulgent vs. necessary to the plot. The book’s lack of fluidity and character development made it impossible to become fully invested. Because it was a quick read, I read it all the way through with the hope of connecting as time went on but, unfortunately, that never happened. As I finished the final page, I found that I didn't care about any of the characters. This book had its moments but, overall, it was a disappointment. 
Pitcairn More than 1 year ago
Did not enjoy this book. Very slow moving and the characters were never fully developed. Watch Downton Abbey. Much better done. Also, if this is how the upper class behaves in England, glad I am an American.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
It is Christmas Eve at Rutherford Park and all the stockings are definitely not hung with care or any other emotion. This is a very cold group of people gathered to celebrate the birth of Our Lord in an English Country Mansion where people ride to the hounds and change their clothes four times a day in order to look better than the person sitting next to them. The owner of Rutherford Park, William Cavendish, rules the roost; the roost being his wife, Octavia and their three children, son Harry and two daughters, Louisa and Charlotte. He rules with his own ruler without any compassion or guidance for his family besides his RULES. The parents find out that Harry has been a bad boy having a fling with the housemaid, Emily, that results in an unwanted pregnancy. Emily is devastated and can’t imagine what she’s going to do so she walks into the river. She is rescued by the stable boy but eventually passes away leaving a baby daughter. Harry feels guilty but there are RULES for the upper class that state that the upper classes cannot marry below their station and the families have to clean up all their children’s messes. Octavia seems to be a very cold individual too although she does secretly arrange care for Emily's child. While in London for her daughter’s coming out, she receives a visit from a young man claiming to be her husband’s son from a relationship with a distant relative. This knocks her back a bit and she goes home to Rutherford Park to brood. She can’t even tell her maid or housekeeper as they are not allowed to know the business of their employers even though they always know what’s going on anyway. In the meantime, World War I is looming over the countryside and Harry wants to be a pilot and get away from his family and all the responsibility for the suffering that he has caused. Octavia wants Harry to stay at home and deal with his problems but Harry wants none of it. There is a definite choice that Octavia will have to make that will change the whole thinking of the family of the privileged and the people who wait on them. Rutherford Park is an interesting story with very defined characters that has been done before; Downton Abby and The Forsyte Saga. The author writes about these folks as if she lived the life and that is good for the reader. The novel moves fast and relationships change rapidly to both upstairs and downstairs pre-WWI England. Quill says: There is excellent historical fiction in this book that covers the contrasts of master and servant in the English aristocracy very well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definately will read second novel. Loved the characters, setting, time period, and plot. Highly recommended. Another great historical fiction on the NOOK is The Partisan by William Jarvis. This book has both fascinating male and female characters. It too is based about the on-set of war. It also involves a wealthy family in great crisis. It also is based on an actual person. Both books deserve A++++++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MUST Read!
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that is all
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its working again so i tkink megs will probs be on and rell jake to get the heck outa here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow its realy been a while
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eraps my arms around you and kisses you back
SI57 More than 1 year ago
Haven't read it yet
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is at result 3