Rutherford Park by Elizabeth Cooke

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Downton Abbey lovers, don’t miss Rutherford Park, by Elizabeth Cooke! This novel takes place in 1913, when Lady Octavia Cavendish learns a painful secret about her own husband on the same night that a servant in the house attempts suicide. Rutherford Park will never be the same place again as the family struggles to stay together amid turmoil and changing times.

Will Lady Cavendish find happiness for once and for all, or will she settle for what she has always had and accept her fate? Will her son come clean to his parents about his own deep dark secrets? Will her daughter be allowed to marry for love? And what about the servants of the house-will they stay on at Rutherford as things change around them? If you love historical fiction, especially of the early 1900s era, you will adore Rutherford Park.

Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown

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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.