Title: Ravenscliffe: A Novel (Eve Williams #2)
Author: Jane Sanderson
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours
For fans of Downton Abbey . . . The peaceful beauty of the English countryside belies the turmoil of forbidden love and the apprehension of a changing world for the families of Netherwood Yorkshire, 1904. On Netherwood Common, Russian émigré Anna Rabinovich shows her dear friend Eve Williams a gracious Victorian villa—Ravenscliffe—the house Anna wants them to live in. There’s a garden and a yard and room enough for their children to play and grow.
Something about the house speaks to Anna, and you should listen to a house, she believes…Ravenscliffe holds the promise of happiness.
Across the square, Clarissa and her husband, the Earl of Netherwood, are preparing for King Edward’s visit. Clarissa is determined to have everything in top shape at Netherwood Hall—in spite of the indolent heir to the estate, Tobias, and his American bride—and much of it depends on the work going on downstairs as the loyal servants strive to preserve the noble family’s dignity and reputation.
As Anna restores Ravenscliffe to its full grandeur, she strikes up a relationship with hardworking Amos Sykes—who proposed to Eve just one year ago.
But when Eve’s long-lost brother Silas turns up in their close-knit mining community, cracks begin to appear in even the strongest friendships.
As change comes to the small town and society at large, the residents of Netherwood must find their footing or lose their place altogether.
You can read my review of Netherwood (Eve Williams #1) HERE.
Being as I review a diverse assortment of genres, I feel extremely lucky to have landed three fantastic historical fiction novels in such a short period of time. Ravenscliffe was just as well-written as it's predecessor, Netherwood, but I enjoyed Ravenscliffe so much more. I have also come to the conclusion that the series being titled Eve Williams is a bit misleading, as the story encompassing quite a few people living at Netherwood. There are plenty of characters to love, root for, and even hate, which makes for an interesting story.
My favorite character in Ravenscliffe was still Anna, but I also became very attached to Lord Netherwood and Thea. They provided a level of depth that I wasn't expecting in the novel. (I even got a little choked up.) And Absalom... Oh, Absalom... He was such a nasty creature. I wasn't expecting such an awful antagonist in this sort of novel, but jeez... Anyways, I love that there is such a large cast because it showed me so much about life at the estate and in the mines. Also, if there was just one character followed, how would we be present for someone dropping dead at a most inopportune time with King Bertie visiting?
One of the best things about Ravenscliffe was the in-depth look at how society and life was changing at that point in time. Workers were demanding safer workplaces, universal adult suffrage was on everyone's minds, and the aristocratic rules on marriage were shrinking. I loved seeing how the characters in Ravenscliffe responded to the changes.
The Eve Williams series has been one that I've enjoyed immensely, and I hope that Sanderson will be writing more novels about the lives of the people of Netherwood. If you have any love for historical fiction, I highly recommend giving Netherwood and Ravenscliffe a try.
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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.
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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.