Ravenscliffe, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Yorkshire, 1904. On Netherwood Common, Russian emigre Anna Rabinovich shows her dear friend Eve Williams a house: a Victorian villa, solidly built from local stone.

This is Ravenscliffe, and it's the house Anna wants them to live in.

It's their house, she says. It was meant to be. As Anna transforms Ravenscliffe, an attraction grows between her and union man Amos.

But when Eve's long-lost brother Silas turns up in the closely-knit mining community of Netherwood, cracks begin to appear in even the strongest friendships. Meanwhile, at Netherwood Hall, cherished traditions are being undermined by the whims of the feckless heir to the title, Tobias Hoyland, and his American bride Thea Stirling.

Below stairs, the loyal servants strive to preserve the noble family's dignity and reputation.

But both inside the great house and in the world beyond, values and loyalties are rapidly changing.




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Memory fail on this one: I saw the cover at work, thought the novel looked intriguing, then promptly forgot the title and author. A massive quest to find the right book again on the library catalogue finally lead me to download the Kindle version. Anyway! Jane Sanderson's second Netherwood tale is well written, and set in God's own count(r)y, but around 200 pages too long to sustain a raft of unlikely characters. A good introduction, with detailed setting, broad dialogue and likeable characters, but I found myself tiring of the all the plucky women and deserving men by the second part. In that sense, this is very much like my (preconceived) impression of <I>Downton Abbey</I> - paternal earl, suffragist (and Sapphist) daughter, injection of American 'new blood' into the old regime, plus two very irritating working class heroines, one a widowed businesswoman and the other a Russian immigrant with an artistic flair. Everyone is very broadminded for the time and place (1904, South Yorkshire), apart from the villains, and of course good triumphs in the end. A popular and enduring formula, but I can only stands so much!

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