Title: Netherwood (Eve Williams #1)
Author: Jane Sanderson
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours
Two remarkably different worlds—one of wealth and privilege, the other of poverty and desperation—are about to collide in one shattering moment in this mesmerizing tale of high drama, forbidden love, and families fighting to hold on to what they have
Upstairs: Lord Netherwood, a coal baron, earns his considerable wealth from the three mines he owns. Supplying a bustling industrial empire with the highest-quality coal keeps his coffers filled—money he needs to run his splendid estate, Netherwood Hall, and to dress his wife and daughters in the latest fashions. And keeping his heir, the charming but feckless Tobias, out of trouble, doesn’t come cheap.
Downstairs: Eve Williams, the wife of one of Lord Netherwood’s most stalwart employees, cleverly manages her family’s well-being on the low wages her hardworking husband earns in the mines. But when her ordered life amid the terraced rows of miners’ houses is brought crashing down by the twin arrivals of tragedy and charity, Eve must look to her own self-sufficiency and talent to provide for her three young children.
And soon the divide between “upstairs” and “downstairs” is about to close . . . and neither world will ever be the same.
When I was a teenager, I stumbled across Marion Chesney's Poor Relations series, and I devoured them. I've gone back to reread them several times over the years, and I've never been able to find a series that gave me quite the same enjoyment. That is, until I found Netherwood by Jane Sanderson. It does not have the same lightness and swoony romance as the aforementioned Victorian-based novels, but it was an absolute pleasure to read.
Sometimes, I like to escape into the lives of ordinary people in history, and Netherwood provides me with just that in Eve Williams. She's the wife of a miner, mother of three, and nothing really extraordinary, except for her looks, as she comes from an even humbler background as what she married into. Though she is the heroine of the book, the story is told in an omnipresent way where we get to see what is going on with other characters who interact with Eve at Netherwood. (And there are some wonderful characters - Anna being one of my favorites.) We are shown the mines, the goings-on in Lord Neverwood's estate, and what Eve's children get up to when she's not around. I think it successfully fleshes out all of the characters, as well as give us, the readers, the opportunity to luxuriate (as much as one can) in the Edwardian coal mining community.
Traveling to England really isn't in my budget right now, and I'm wary of time machines, so books like Netherwood are some of my favorite ways to escape to another place. After reading so much crisis and chaos in my beloved dystopian, fantasy, and science fiction novels, visiting the everyday normality of another place and time is such a welcome change of pace. I highly recommend giving it a try.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond
About the Author
A former BBC radio producer, married to author and journalist Brian Viner, Jane Sanderson has used some of her own family history as background for her first novel.
Find out more about Jane at her website and follow her on Twitter.
Follow the Tour
Netherwood Tour Schedule
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.