Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Netherwood by Jane Sanderson

Morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Jane Sanderson's Netherwood.

It's 1904 and Eve and her husband live well enough in Netherwood. Arthur is a strong man who takes pride in his work in the coal mines. Eve keeps house, cleverly stretching their resources and managing their affairs while also taking care of the children. When she hears that nearby Grangely residents - currently on strike for unfair wages at their own mines - are being forcibly evicted, Eve wants to help in any way she can. The local reverend approaches Eve and Arthur requesting that they take in a young widow and her infant daughter just until the woman can get back on her feet. They agree, but before the woman arrives tragedy strikes. Now Eve has found herself widowed and with little prospects in the way of supporting her family and two extra mouths to feed arriving on her doorstep. Fortunately for Eve, Anna matches her in smarts and resourcefulness. The two women soon band together to support one another and their families.

Meanwhile, the Earl of Netherwood and his family face their own troubles at Netherwood estate. The heir to the family fortune has just come into his own but has yet to take on any family responsibility. Instead, Toby Netherwood spends his evenings carousing with the locals and drinking beer.

Amongst the slew of Downton comparisons of late, I have to admit this one is probably closest - if Downton focused on the Crawleys and the folks who live within the village rather than the house staff.

My only issue with this book was that part one spends so much time on Eve and her family, and then Anna, that by the time part two begins and the focus turns a bit more to the Hoyland family I found it hard to care about them. I just wanted to get back to Eve and Anna's story!

Netherwood is rich with historical detail and description. Sanderson really brings Netherwood, both the village and the immediate estate (house and gardens), to life very vividly. The food, the smells, the day to day life, and especially the little details like the individual plants and colors in the garden and the linens on the dining table are so well described that the reader only has to close their eyes to imagine they're right there in Netherwood or Eve's kitchen.

Netherwood is the first in a series of three thus far. Please note I'll also be reviewing the second novel, Ravenscliffe, so check back here on Jan 28 for that. Over in the UK, the story continues with Eden Falls as well!

To see what others on the tour thought, be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Jane Sanderson and her series, visit her website here. You can also follow her on Twitter.

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for being a part of the tour!