Rowena, Victoria and Prudence are 3 young ladies with modern ideas, trapped in a world of strict, old-fashioned social requirements. They grew up relatively protected from the harsh class system, cozy together, despite the fact that Prudence was actually the daughter of the governess who raised Rowena and Victoria. When the master of the household passes away, the girls are left with only one protector in a world that frowned upon independent females-an enterprising uncle whose household is run with much more structure and discipline and awareness of social faux pas. When the girls are forced to move into his country home after he decides to let out the house to someone else to save expenses, the girls are forced to follow the rules of their new home.
Prudence, the friend and pseudo-sister to Rowena and Victoria, is suddenly forced into the position of ladies’ maid to the girls, due to her low birth in the social strata. With no other obvious options, she must suddenly explore the world of servitude, and finds that she doesn’t belong anywhere anymore. As the other girls settle into a new life with their uncle, despite reservations about their friend’s new situation, Prudence must set out to find out the truth about her own mother, the history of her family, and where she belongs in the world-and it is a journey filled with blood, sweat and tears, and scandal around every corner.
Summerset Abbey is the first in the Summerset Abbey Trilogy, written by T.J. Brown. If you love historical fiction of the Downton Abbey or Jane Austen variety, you will adore this novel immensely-and keep an eye out for the second novel in the series, A Bloom in Winter.