The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons
I bought this book because the blurb on the front said that it was for “people who like Downton Abbey“…which is me! I loooooove Downton Abbey and I was in the mood for more upstairs-downstairs-romantic-history-type stories when I stumbled across this book.
I’d say the blurb is a little misleading in that, yes, it’s about an English manor house and, yes, it takes place during major English historical events (namely, World War II), but that’s about where the similarities to Downton Abbey end.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an enjoyable read! It took me a bit to get into it – the author’s writing feels a bit stilted at the beginning of the book and there are quite a few sentences that struck me as the kind of sentence that shows that the author is trying too hard to be evocative and, I don’t know, hyper-literary almost. But once I got into the author’s rhythms, I really found myself caught up in the story (well, the main romance I didn’t quite buy – I mean, I saw it coming and I wanted it to happen, but I didn’t really see where the emotions on the fellow’s side came from – the author did one of those tricks where the two mains meet and then, ta-da, we skip ahead a few months and they’re besties!).
It’s sounding like I’m being a little hard on the book, but it’s only because I was comparing it to Downton Abbey the whole time and it falls a little short of that, but as just a story, it was very engaging and it totally made me chuckle to myself and I was crying by the end, so I think, in the end, it was successful. I’d recommend it, but not necessarily in the same sentence as Downton Abbey.
Downton Arby’s, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. 😉
My rating: B-