Read Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown Online


In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London in 1913, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society and the distant rumblings of war. . . . Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister Rowena was taught to value peoplIn a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London in 1913, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society and the distant rumblings of war. . . . Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. Everything she believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under their uncle's guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey. Rowena must decide where her true passions -- and loyalties -- lie....

Title : Summerset Abbey
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781611736816
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 383 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Summerset Abbey Reviews

  • Stacia (the 2010 club)
    2019-02-04 05:46

    Recently, I had someone ask me to explain the t.v. show Downton Abbey to them and the closest explanation that I could find is that it's like an older version of a soap opera, without the demon possessions and twins being born with two different fathers. Since Summerset Abbey is sort of like a book version of Downton in print form, then I guess I'd have to use the same explanation for this review. I mean, you can't really call Summerset a historical romance because there's too much attention paid to getting all of the period details just right, yet the read is slightly too fluffy to be called a true historical fiction. When you have a book full of gossip, scandal, social politicking, and whatnot (don't ask me to explain whatnot), but it's all wrapped in this package of decadent historical detail (I loved that I could see so much of the surroundings in my mind's eye), what else could I call it?Let me go ahead and address right off who would likely enjoy reading Summerset. I can't say that this book would be for everyone. Only the hardcore fans of shows like Downton (or possibly Upstairs, Downstairs?), as well as those who love early 20th century fluff lit (is this a real category? I don't even know.) would appreciate the book. The time period is set pre-WWI, right around the Titanic mishap.While I did find myself entertained by some of the upper class/lower class separation and how the characters dealt with it (the upper class ignored, while the lower class/servants gossiped about the upper class), I struggled a little with attaching to all of the characters. Much like how I felt overwhelmed when I first started watching Downton because I had so many characters thrown at me, I also struggled with the same situation while reading this book. Unfortunately, it's harder to recall multiple character roles to memory as you proceed, when you're going strictly off text descriptions. This area is where television has an advantage.Of the three main girls featured as prominent characters, the only one whose story really captured my attention was that of Prudence. I couldn't help myself from wanting to know how this young woman who was once considered a friend of the family at Summerset had been relegated to a new position of handmaiden once her mother had passed on. Her story is the reverse of a rags-to-riches, which made it that much more interesting to observe. If I were to continue reading the series, it would mainly be out of curiosity to see what happened to her."Wait," he said, his voice almost urgent. "I don't even know your name.""Prudence," she said, before pulling her arm away and moving down the hall."But who are you?" he called after her.She couldn't tell him, for at that moment she didn't know.Even though I struggled somewhat with trying to recall everything, the book was charming in so many ways. This author completely nailed it with describing the surroundings to me. I could almost imagine the change in scenery between the section of the house belonging to the haves, and the section belonging to the have-nots. Every small detail was constantly debated as to who was allowed the luxury of what."You have to wonder what sort of duties one has to perform to get a dress such as that."Forbidden desires - hidden dreams - secret lives... Welcome to Summerset Abbey. This book provided from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Quotes may be changed or omitted from the final published copy.

  • Naoms
    2019-01-25 08:47

    Originally Posted on Confessions of an Opinionated Book Geek3.5Where should I start with “Summerset Abbey?” I’ll start by saying that this is a very depressing book. Which is not surprising, because it is set in a very depressing time in women’s history. This book made me cry. Not because there is a traumatic event like a death. No, I cried, because 100 years ago the lives of Prudence, Victoria and Rowena was life for women all over the world. I cried, because even though it will be 2013 in two weeks, life is still like this for women and can even be ten times worse. Whatever its faults, this book is obviously well researched and flushed out. The dialogue feels authentic and the distinction between above stairs and below is very true to life. It’s honest, even in the end and it’s that honesty that makes this story so unbelievably depressing.It begins with a funeral. Sir Phillip Buxton is dead. He raised his daughters Rowena and Victoria to see beyond class, speak their minds and above all love Prudence Tate like a sister. Unfortunately, Sir Phillip left his daughters in a world that is on the brink of change, but hasn’t made it there yet. Their cold uncle and their bitch of an aunt take in the Buxton girls. I’m sorry to use that word. I really am, but Lady Summerset is the kind of woman that makes me ashamed to call myself the same sex as her. The Earl and Lady Summerset, take the girls in and everything changes. Prudence, who has been treated as a beloved sister, is now thrown in the servant’s hall. The servants ridicule her, she is hated by the family above stairs and abandoned by the people she called sisters. Victoria wants to help, she wants to fight, but her words are left on deft ears, due to her frailty and sickness she is always seen as a child. All the while, Rowena is crippled into inactivity and silence under the weight of the “responsibilities,” left to her as the oldest.I think that we are supposed to care about all three girls equally, but I could not bring myself to like Rowena. It is Rowena’s idea to have Prudence travel with them as their maid. Rowena’s stoicism and silence is intolerable to me. If she truly loved Prudence as a sister, the thought of making her a servant would have never cross her mind. It made every word, choice and emotion from Rowena seem insincere. She spends a lot of time complaining about how everything falls on her. She is a rich woman in 1913. Her father left her money that she will receive on her 25th birthday. Poor women in this time literally had no options. They had to become someone’s servant, raise other people’s children or become a prostitute. When you consider that, it becomes hard to take Rowena seriously. All she has to do is watch out for her sister. Not raise her, since Victoria is 18. The other thing she has to do is put her foot down and tell her relations that her adopted sister is not a maid. This is all. Instead of being an adult or just being a good person and doing the right thing, Rowena spends half this book pouting and saying it’s not fair she has so much responsibility.Victoria, on the other hand, has such spirit and conviction it is difficult not like her. Women like Victoria are the reason I have the right to vote, why I have rights and a career. Victoria is a forward thinker who refuses to be boxed in, just because she is a woman and has asthma. She will not be babied or taken care of. Her body may be feeble, but her mind is not. She never gives up on trying to find a way to get Prudence back as her sister. She is loyal to a fault and wants more to life than being a gentleman’s wife.Then there is Prudence. If I had to pick one word to describe Prudence Tate that would be good. Prudence is a good person. When Rowena waits until they are a few minutes from Summerset to inform Prudence that she is to become a maid, Prudence does not throw a fit. No, Prudence accepts her new lot in life and trusts Rowena to fix it. She goes to live in the servant’s quarters, takes all the crap thrown at her and is still a loyal sister to the Buxton girls. Prudence’s loyalty, her bravery and her good spirit is what helps to make this story so unbelievably sad. It becomes very clear that a secret is lurking over Prudence’s past and that she is unknowingly on a path toward heartbreak and disaster. The Lady of Summerset is determined to get rid of her from the start and without her sisters to truly have her back, there was no possible way for Prudence to win.I knew this and I even had my suspicions on what the secret was, but I was still blown away by the ending. I was stunned and absolutely devastated. I hated the Earl and lady. I hated Rowena for not being stronger and not preventing this from happening. Then, it was just over. The book was complete and I am left feeling empty. I wouldn’t call the conclusion of this book to be a cliffhanger. In all honesty, it doesn’t even feel like a conclusion. It’s like the writer simply put down her pen and said “oh well, I guess I’ll just finish this in another book.” Even if there is more installments to a story, each book should have a beginning, middle and an end. “Summerset Abbey” doesn’t so much end, or pause, it just stops. It’s like when you’re walking in a crowd and the person before you comes to an abrupt halt. You have no time to catch yourself before you bump into them or fall all over yourself trying to avoid them. That is how the end of this book felt.I have to address calling Lady Summerset a bitch. It’s not the usual way I speak, but it could not be avoided. I dislike any woman who does not have loyalty to her sex. I do not care if it’s 1911 or 1776. If a woman is brutalized or raped, we as women should sympathize and feel for that person, because it could have happened to us. In 1911, if you had a child out of wedlock, it doesn’t matter if you are the daughter of a duke or a scullery maid, you will be disgraced. Therefore, every women should be understanding of a fallen woman. Lady Summerset is someone who only cares about appearances. She is so worried about scandal or what other people think, she hurts someone that she should have championed. She is someone who doesn’t see the point in equal rights and doesn’t understand that a woman can be more than a pretty face. She misunderstands Victoria, because Victoria has a mind and actually educates herself. She looks down on Rowena, because she feels Rowena should be flaunting her pretty face in order to get a husband. I hate this woman. I hate what she represents. I hate that women like her actually existed. Women like her made life for poor, disgraced and unmarried women lives ten times harder than any man could have. And, that is why I put my politically correct self aside and call this woman a bitch.For the most part, I enjoyed this book. It’s sad and had a tone of melancholy that starts on the first page and continues through on to the last. This book does not have a happy ending. I kept waiting for good things to happen to Prudence, Victoria and Rowena, but for the most part it doesn’t. In fact, what happens to Prudence in this book has left me devastated. I am only really reading the sequel in hopes for a showdown where Victoria puts Rowena in her place and hopefully for some form of happy ending for Prudence. Lets face it, women in Prudence’s circumstances barely ever had happy endings. I should probably not hold my breath.Recommended for fans of shows like “Downton Abbey” and lovers of historical fiction.

  • Misfit
    2019-02-02 03:49

    This is a tough one to review, and in the end I find I'm agreeing 100% Erin's review and can't add much more except for the mystery of the older Earl/Duke:On page 43 the girls observe a giant portrait of their grandfather the eighth duke. Yet, their uncle (the son of the old *duke*) is the Earl of Summerset. Late in the book on page #213, the grandfather is "the old earl" and on page #282 he is "the late Earl of Summerset". Note: I have a finished copy from the library and not an ARC. I did enjoy this, I just felt that the character development could have been fleshed out a bit more, it just didn't feel like a complete. From the author's bio on the GR page, it appears this is the first in a trilogy, so perhaps things might flesh out more in the next two books. A bit of a surprise twist at the end, and not quite what I expected...

  • Bonnie
    2019-02-02 05:38

    My rating: 2.5 of 5 starsA copy of Summerset Abbey was provided to me by Gallery Books/Edelweiss for review purposes.The year is 1913 and Sir Philip Buxton has passed leaving his two daughters all alone. Placed into the care of their Uncle until the time they decide to marry, their life becomes upended when they are moved from their home to Summerset Abbey. Victoria and Rowena are also separated from their friend Prudence. Prudence was raised alongside the girls their entire lives and they are all three as close as sisters can be. Their Uncle won't stand for this continued treatment though as Prudence is a governess's daughter by birth. The question remains why would Sir Philip raise her as his own to begin with?The big hook for me that got me interested in reading this book was the comparison to Downton Abbey. I am a sucker for anything Downton Abbey and love historical fiction in general so I anticipated liking this immensely While I did enjoy this, I found there to be one huge difference between the two. In Downton Abbey everything is glamorous and you find yourself so envious of the people and this beautiful time period they live in. In Summerset Abbey I found myself feeling rather sorry for these girls and the things they were obligated to do based on customs. I rather think though that Summerset Abbey gives a more accurate interpretation of that time period as it likely wasn't truly as exotic as it seems on television. For this reason I think many won't appreciate this as much because, like me, I can't help but love the glamorous façade.The writing was entertaining but there were several times where additional descriptive details had been added that felt unnecessary and would have been better omitted. The mystery bit of the whole story could have been done much better as well. Nonetheless entertaining, I still felt I had the mystery solved weeks before these girls did. Considering this is a start of a new series, Summerset Abbey left off at a rather awkward point but definitely leaves you highly anticipating the next installment.

  • Erin
    2019-02-09 07:21

    Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....I've wrestled with my feelings on T.J. Brown's Summerset Abbey several times and I think I've finally put my finger on the problem. I desperately wanted to love this book, the time period offers a wealth of material, but that being said, I found the piece much more of a challenge than I'd originally anticipated and didn't end it as satisfied as I'd hoped. By far my favorite aspect of the book is the obvious care Brown put in to defining the social classes. Lately I've come across a lot of historic pieces that blur the line between master and servant, choosing to disregard the social stratification that existed between the two. Brown favors history and for that, I am deeply appreciative. The stark contrast between the Buxtons, their household staff and the citizens of Summerset is abundantly clear from the first page to the last, as finite in her fiction as it is in fact. I also greatly enjoyed the story as it related to Prudence. All things considered it is probably an unfair assessment, but she is without a doubt my favorite of the three girls. Alone and without a male benefactor Prudence's position is precarious from the get-go and offers the most to the reader in terms of emotional drama, intrigue and movement. In contrast Victoria, though interesting, is almost dull. She blends too easily into the background of the story, her sweet and gentle demeanor overshadowed by her cast mates. I can only hope we see more of her in future installments, that her character becomes more complex and that she enjoy the same prominence as her counterparts in Brown's future works. It would be a shame to see her continually lost in the shuffle.Last I come to Rowena. I think Brown was shooting for conflicted, but something must have been lost in translation as I found her apathetic, spoiled and indecisive. More than that though, Rowena is entirely one dimensional. Where Victoria barely towed the line, Rowena jumped clear over it, frequently leaving me bored and yawning.Perhaps the only thing as disappointing to me as Rowena's character was the ending. The revelation surrounding Prudence felt rushed and disjointed. Those characters to which it pertained were not fully developed in my mind and their sudden importance was particularly jarring. I haven't yet given up hope for the series and though I am optimistic about book two, A Bloom in Winter, I will certainly be approaching it with a moderate degree of caution.

  • Laura
    2019-01-27 01:47

    This is a Downton Abbey-esque Books but even if I tried hard to enjoy it, I must confess I didn't managed to like it. The idea of the story is interesting, typical from an Edwardian era. But there is a lack of true emotion aan real engagement among the main characters which makes the reader to loose interest into the plot.I hate when I finish a book and I have to ask the stupid question: and so what??Probably I won't read any other book by this author. There are better books on this subject.

  • Katie
    2019-02-07 06:20

    This was a book I was really looking forward to. Mostly because I love historical novels, but also because I LOVE "Downton Abbey," and this definitely sounded Downton-esque. And thankfully, it totally was!I think this is a good book for fans of Anna Godbersen - there are similarities in that they're both historical, with multiple POVs, and focus on the lives of catty (or semi-catty) girls with lots of drama in their lives. But I think people who were frustrated with the girls in Anna Godbersen's books might find these heroines a bit more levelheaded and likeable. For me, I liked the MCs in both.I started out the book thinking Prudence was a bit of a martyr and self-righteous, but she really grew on me throughout the book. And I was really surprised by her choice in the end - totally didn't see that coming! Some readers might find Rowena hard to like, but I found her very Mary Crawley-esque in that she has to carry the responsibility of all three girls, and she doesn't always rise to the challenge. I think she'll have the most character development throughout the series and possibly the most interesting character arc.For me, Victoria was the hardest to like. She's a very black-and-white person, which I found sort of irritating. But she helped the story progress, so I could deal with her.The historical details were good, but I wished there had been more. That's one of my favorite parts of a historical novel - all the delicious tidbits about fashion and etiquette and the like, but I thought there was a lot of that missing here. That kept the pacing quicker, but I felt it took away from a lot of the ambiance.This is definitely a very readable book. It's good for people who don't normally read historical fiction, I think. It's also not really YA. I would call it new adult, as the youngest character is 18 - Victoria. Prudence and Rowena are both over 20. Finally, I found a new adult book that I liked! Woohoo!I'm not sure if this book will get a lot of buzz, but I think it should. I really hope more books like this one will get published in the future. Forget dystopian. Bring on the historicals! :)

  • Tatiana
    2019-02-19 02:46

    Т.Дж. Браун «Аббатство Саммерсет. Семейная тайна». «Аббатство Саммерсет. Семейная тайна» - это первая книга трилогии американской писательницы Тэрри Браун. Аннотация обещает нам блеск аристократического общества, семейный тайны, интриги эпохи короля Эдуарда. Вначале романа мы встречаем трех героинь – Пруденс, Ровену и Викторию, которым после смерти своего покровители приходятся переехать в Аббатство Саммерсет, которое принадлежит дяде Ро и Вик, где всем трем предстоит начать свою новую жизнь. Девушки, совершенно не похожи на своих современец, озабоченных балами и замужеством. Ровена тихо страдает от своей нерешительности, взбалмошная Виктория лелеет мечту стать ученым, и разгадать все тайны своего семейства. Дочери гувернантки–Пруденс, которая еще недавно воспитывалась наравне с двумя сестрами, теперь отведена роль всего лишь гувернантке и главы Аббатства Саммерсет спят и видят, как бы поскорее выпроводить девушки за ворота и захлопнуть за ее спиною дверь.От книги я ожидала интриг, интриг и еще раз интриг. На деле это роман с очень спокойным повествованием. Страшная «семейная тайна» лично мне стала очевидна практически с первых глав. Героини очень уж однотипные. Зачеркни имя и можно их перепутать – они страдают, переодеваются и ходят из угла в угол. Автор пытается погрузить нас в атмосферу того времени описываю мебель, помещения и одежду. Для меня не сработала. Прищурь один глаз и действия уже происходят в наше время. Нет - какой та изюминки. С появлением на горизонте молодых людей (куда уж без них) ход повествования немного «веселее», но никакого пика так и не достигнет. Бал, которого, я так ждала, показался мне на редкость серым. История и герои не затронули ни одной струну у меня в душе. С книгой вполне так себе можно отдохнуть пару вечерков, но чего-то эпического ждать не стоит. Оценка: 3 из 5

  • Caz
    2019-01-28 02:23

    I've given this a C+ for narration and a C for content at AudioGals, so I'm leaving it at 3 stars.Summerset Abbey seems to have been clearly aimed at the Downton Abbey market, and not just because of the similarity in the names. Summerset is set in 1913, and is the first of a trilogy that follows events in the lives of three young women – sisters Rowena and Victoria Buxton and their informally adopted sister, Prudence Tate.The story opens with the funeral of Philip Buxton, younger brother of the Earl of Summerset, and father of Rowena and Victoria. Philip was a progressive who ensured his daughters were well educated and brought them up to be unconstrained by class differences. It comes as an incredibly harsh blow when Rowena is told by her uncle and her father’s solicitor that their home does not actually belong to them, as it’s part of the earl’s estate, and that, as Rowena’s money is in trust until she is twenty-five (two years away), they will have to make their home at the Abbey from now on. Not only that, but as Prudence is nothing but the daughter of their former governess, she is not the earl’s responsibility and will not be accompanying them. Trying to deal with her grief and shock, Rowena panics and suggests the first thing that occurs to her – Prudence should stay on as hers and Victoria’s lady’s maid.When they arrive at the Abbey, Prudence is hurried off into the servants’ quarters and given a long list of do’s and don’ts by the housekeeper, who is clearly not disposed to like her. Many of the other servants are similarly inclined, feeling that Prudence has ideas above her station, and poor Prudence finds herself in the unenviable position of being “between stations” – thought too posh for “downstairs” and not posh enough for “upstairs”.The earl and countess are not thrilled at having Prudence under their roof, and clearly want to be rid of her. Their attitude serves to emphasise the precarious nature of the situation faced by a woman like Prudence who has no male relatives to speak up for her. She is going to have to make her own way in life from now on, and it’s clear that it’s not going to be easy.Each of the three principal female roles possesses certain defining characteristics, although I wouldn’t say that each is particularly strongly characterised. Victoria has been defined all her life as being “sickly” (she suffers from asthma), but fortunately is not one to let herself be beaten down by it, as her aunt observes, Victoria’s stubbornness “no doubt came from being infirm so much of her young life. If you were sickly, you either overcame it or it overcame you. It gave one a sense of strength.” Prudence is “good” – she’s always been able to handle Victoria when she gets in one of her pets, and even though she fumes inwardly, she hardly ever complains about the situation into which she has been forced.You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

  • Vicki
    2019-01-31 05:42

    For all you Downton Abbey fans, this just may be the book for you. Set in great Britain in 1913, Summerset Abbey captures a snapshot in time when one way of life is emerging just as another is fading away. This period is remembered as La Belle Epoque, during the Edwardian era when the privileged are clinging to a lifestyle that puts them at the top of the "caste system," while others are awakening to the issues of suffrage and the extremely hard lives of the poor and unfortunate whose labors enable the lifestyle of the elite citizenry.The story begins with the funeral of a wealthy gentleman in London, Sir Philip Buxton, who leaves behind two daughters, Victoria and Rowena, ages 17 and 19, and Prudence Tate, a ward he has raised as his own daughter. Her age falls between the two daughters and the three feel a close sisterly kinship. Prudence is the daughter of the governess, who passed away when the girls were still children. Prudence's mother had originally served at Summerset Abbey, but when her father died, Sir Philip enlisted her to serve as governess to his children in London. Though Sir Philip had very modern sensibilities and raised the girls accordingly, his brother, the Earl of Summerset, has very rigid views of what is and is not appropriate. After the funeral he surprises the girls with the news that they do not own their home; it is the property of the Summerset estates, and they must accompany him back to the Abbey for an extended visit. The girls inherit everything from their dad, but the Earl is conservator of their wealth until they marry. He views Prudence as one of the hired staff and says she must remain in London. Victoria and Rowena are incensed, claiming that Prudence is their Ladie's Maid, so that she will be allowed to accompany them. Little do they know that their decision will lead to Prudence being consigned to the servant's quarters and subjected to the rude and harsh treatment that serving people quickly became resigned to if they are expecting to keep a job. Nor are they aware of the matchmaking that the Earl's wife Lady Charlotte is planning. And there is certainly no role for Prudence at any of the social events that are planned, with the exception, of course, of serving the household as needed when her services as Ladie's Maid are not required.Prudence uses her rare time off to look for family in the nearby village while Rowena and Victoria are making discoveries of their own. They are shocked by some of the family secrets that are uncovered and by the strength and courage they discover within themselves.A really good story, and as usual with historical fiction, an enlightening look at an era with much to teach us about ourselves and our changing attitudes and values. Fans of T.J. Brown are fortunate that there are follow up books in the Summerset Abbey Series. Book Two is A Bloom In Winter. The ebook version I read courtesy of NetGalleys also has an excellent Book Club discussion guide.

  • Dianne
    2019-02-03 05:46

    The setting is early twentieth century England, where automobiles and airplanes are still in their infancy. Women are still seen as not able to handle their own affairs and a proper young lady aspires only to make a good wife.Widower, Sir Philip Buxton defied Edwardian principles and raised his two daughters and their orphaned best friend to be independent, strong personalities, encouraging them to think outside of the box. Unfortunately, he becomes ill and passes away, and his older brother, the Earl of Summerset, takes over the handling of the estate and the guardianship of Rowena and Victoria. Prudence, always treated like one of Sir Philip's daughters is allowed to come along only as a servant, not as the sister she was to the other girls.The events that followed become a turning point for all three girls as they are expected to assume new roles in society, meet young men they have feelings for and dark family secrets are revealed. One of the girls will bend, one will become stronger, one will pull herself up and forge ahead into a new life on her own, while the damage done to the relationship these girls had may be irreparable, cutting each to the bone as new light is shed on the often shameful history of their family.Each character had their own strengths, most likable were Victoria and Prudence, while Rowena's potential was cut off. As the 'villain' in the story, Lady Summerset was superb, between following the nuances of the times, and her own devious machinations. The Earl was a goodhearted person, just weak under the pressures of his wife.This is well worth reading, and is appropriate for young adults, as well as adults, as it demonstrates the pressures society's expectations place on itself.This ARC copy was given to me by NetGalley and Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.

  • Lisa - (Aussie Girl)
    2019-02-18 05:20

    Edwardian period romance much in the vein of Downton Abbey. Not a bad read with the division of the English class system a major plot point but it did end quite abruptly making the reading of the next in the series compulsory for anyone interested in following what happens to the four Buxton ladies. 3.5 stars.

  • Rachel
    2019-02-09 07:36

    Diving into SUMMERSET ABBEY feels decadent. Much like the elegant, opulent and scandalous world in which the story takes place. A world that’s caught between the past and the present, one that’s on the verge of modernism but still clings to traditionalism.A world where entitlement and leisure, lavish parties and arranged marriages contrast with motorcars, aeroplanes, suffragettes and the working class. And where the lords and ladies of the manor continue to embrace their way of life even as the world moves forward without them.SUMMERSET ABBEY is a story that is rich with beauty, includes a bevy of interesting characters, has a wonderful flow to the writing and feels fresh and modern yet captures the essence of the time period around which the story revolves.Told from multiple perspectives, the author, T.J. Brown, gives readers the opportunity to meet three young women – Rowena, Prudence and Victoria – who grew up in the same household but who find themselves in very different circumstances following the death of the man who raised them.Rowena discovers herself to be newly burdened with responsibilities she didn’t ask for and ones she wasn’t in the least bit ready for. Victoria’s dreams of making her own way in the world are put on hold when it becomes necessary to relocate to Summerset Abbey. And Prudence is forced to face the harsh reality that while she always believed herself to be equal to her “sisters,” outside of the place she used to call home she is anything but.As the first book in this new series, SUMMERSET ABBEY sets up the series brilliantly. It builds the world, develops the characters, and moves the plot forward enough for readers to feel satisfied with what they’ve been given but still eager for more.And while the pace is unhurried, the story has an easy flow that will keep readers connected throughout – even as it switches between each of the different character’s storylines. It has characters that readers will want to spend time getting to know. It has writing that gives this tale a more contemporary feel, allowing for a broader appeal. And it has three different story arcs that readers will want to follow to their conclusion.Brimming with secrets, lies, scandal and betrayal, SUMMERSET ABBEY is an immensely entertaining, thoroughly engaging and utterly enchanting tale that will keep readers in its thrall.On a personal note…I fell madly in love with SUMMERSET ABBEY pretty much from the moment I started reading it. I was instantly drawn into the world which had the feel of a bygone era but also felt as if it was on the cusp of a modern one.I loved meeting Victoria, Prudence and Rowena, though I felt much more of a connection with Prudence than either of her two “sisters.” She was the most relatable, the strongest, the most sympathetic. And she had the most swoon-worthy man interested in her company – Lord Billingsly.Her situation was also the most heartbreaking. While all three were uprooted from their home when Rowena and Victoria’s father died, only Prudence had to suffer the radical change in her circumstances. And only she had to face the cruelty that Summerset Abbey dished out. Not only from the wealthy and privileged, but from the servants. Prudence did not fit in anywhere at Summerset Abbey and my heart broke for her.Victoria was charming, strong-willed and an absolutely delightful character. She had very strong opinions for someone whose health issues left her body weakened. I loved seeing just what she got herself up to when she wasn’t being watched by Rowena or Prudence. For someone who could easily have allowed herself to be doted on or coddled, she opted instead to create her own adventures and do as much as she was capable of for herself.I”m so glad we got to experience this story from all three sisters’ points of view, as well as the occasional peek at the world from Lady Summerset’s perspective. Because if I didn’t get to see things through Rowena Buxton’s eyes, I might only have thought of her as dreadful. Instead I saw her as flawed and frustrating but not horrible.Her story was absolutely riveting but she herself was a cross between maddening and mildly sympathetic. Mostly maddening, though. Not my favorite traits for a character. And while she had kindness in her, she was weak and indecisive and sometimes just as rude and entitled as Lady Summerset herself.I couldn’t decide if she’d have been better off growing up in a household that was much more traditional, where all her choices were taken away from her, or if it would have been better for her to have grown up in an environment that was far more modern than the one she was brought up in. A world where she was completely free to do as she pleased.I wanted to throttle her because of the way she handled, or rather didn’t handle, the situation with Prudence. She moped. She became sad. She got depressed. She did nothing.But she wasn’t totally unlikable. She was rather charming and adventurous when she stepped away from Summerset Abbey and spent time with Jonathan Wells. Without the heavy burdens of responsibility she would have been very likable. Sadly those weren’t her circumstances. And as frustrating as she was, as much as I wanted to scream at her, I loved getting to experience the story from her point of view.I loved getting swept away by this story. It felt somehow luxurious to be letting my imagination linger in the past, in a world where time moved just a little bit slower, people dressed for every occasion – even when it wasn’t practical – and etiquette was still very much a part of everyday life.And I loved trying to uncover the secrets of Summerset Abbey and attempting to figure out just what the scandal was. This was an utterly engaging and absolutely delightful read and a world I can’t wait to learn more about when I revisit it in A BLOOM IN WINTER.I did read the short snippet from the second book in the series that was included at the end of SUMMERSET ABBEY, and I cannot wait to find out exactly how a certain girl got into that particular circumstance. Fortunately book two comes out in March so the wait won’t be too torturous.

  • Tempo de Ler
    2019-02-11 06:29

    Ora aqui está uma série que eu estou empolgadíssima para continuar a acompanhar!Na casa de Sir Philip reinava um espírito boémio que se opunha à tradição - viúvo, Sir Philip permitiu que as suas duas filhas, Victoria e Rowena, fossem criadas juntamente com Prudence, a filha da governanta, como se esta fosse parte da família. Contudo, esta era uma noção partilhada apenas pelos esclarecidos do início do século XIX…e quando Sir Philip morre, vítima de pneumonia, Prudence depara-se com uma realidade bem diferente. As três são obrigadas a ir morar com o tio que, regendo-se ainda pelas estritas regras da aristocracia, apenas tolera a ida de Prudence sob o estatuto de criada. Um preceito pessoal que esconde algo bem mais grave. Na verdade, o futuro da família Buxton depende de se livrarem de Prudence…rapidamente.Gostei imenso da abordagem escolhida pela autora, seguindo simultaneamente as três jovens - três mulheres fortes com ideias perigosamente liberais, habituadas a uma certa independência que agora se encontram sob a tutela de um homem que se opõe veemente a tal. Ao longo da narrativa fui ganhando afeição a cada uma delas (por motivos bem diferentes) e pelos respectivos interesses românticos que desenvolvem, especialmente pelo intrigante Kit. É certo que Rowena perdeu um bocadinho do seu encanto ao adiar constantemente a verdade, por dificuldade ou inconveniência, levando a consequências desastrosas. Como compensação, gostei muito da aparente fragilidade de Victoria, que acaba por camuflar um caracter forte e decidido. E, claro, a história de Prudence é a mais interessante e comovente, por se encontrar suspensa entre o mundo dos criados e dos senhores da casa, sem pertencer verdadeiramente a qualquer um dos lados. A época histórica é, só por si, muito interessante. Gostei da exploração da condição da mulher numa sociedade onde se começavam a alastrar novas ideologias entre as jovens, novos objectivos e prioridades, que levavam ao desinteresse por aquela que deveria ser a condicionante máxima das suas vidas: o matrimónio. Ficou bastante por dizer, mas As Mulheres de Summerset Abbey é apenas o 1º livro de uma série contínua que acredito que se vá desenvolvendo lentamente sobre si mesma, daí que a exploração dos diversos tópicos e até das próprias personagens seja também ela lenta e adiada. Convenhamos que a autora não podia atafulhar o primeiro livro com informação, sobrecarregando uma leitura de entretenimento que se tornaria certamente aborrecida. Não reconheço especial talento na escrita da autora mas gostei muito da forma como montou e desenvolveu o enredo, enriquecendo-o com pormenores preciosos. Embora este esteja longe de ser original, é manobrado de forma a espicaçar a curiosidade do leitor e, entre parentescos chocantes e uma tia falecida em criança sobre a qual todos se recusam a falar, dei por mim já profundamente embrenhada na história. Mais que tudo, adorei o final abrupto que me deixou pendurada na história, no meio de todas as possibilidades criadas a partir de uma reviravolta inesperada e tumultuosa… Um assombro que me deixou a pairar sobre o derradeiro ponto final durante alguns segundos.

  • Lulufrances
    2019-02-04 01:21

    I think this book is for old ladies because I read it.I really thought it's about the sun, the ocean and the beach, but it's about really boring old castles.So it sucks. (Here you have the review of a friend who's trying to impersonate me without having read the books haha)I have to admit I've only ever watched a few episodes of Downton Abbey despite the first few series being in family possession and despite me actually being intrigued by it (and especially those wardrobes).However, I think once I'm back from Bible School I'll jump onto that bandwagon.Now, given the name of this book it is kind of obvious that it contains similarities to the TV show.Unfortunately, I missed the visuals a bit for this book.I love watching period films and series for all the opulence (and decadence) and of course that is a point where books may lack if the author doesn't do enough descriptive world building.I mean, most of the times I got the feeling and could picture the clothing and all the settings, but for my taste, it could have been a bit more rich.Now, on to the story.It was extremely fluffy and my fears of it being one of those historical fictions that are difficult to get into/read because of language and whatnot where definitely not met.I missed some depth to the whole plot, it was kind of guessable most of the times and I would have liked some more intrigues and scandals (but I reckon I'll have to go to Anna Godbersen's Luxe series, which provides enough scandal for both series haha).All the love interests sounded rather dashing and dapper (excuse my lame usage of the few "historical" words I know) but there was no sizzling to the love stories, except maybe one; can't tell which one though - because spoileeeerrrrrs.Rowena, Victoria and Prudence were all likeable MCs, but fell a bit flat, I hope they will develop more as the story progresses.All in all this was a pretty okay and enjoyable inbetween-read and I hope I will become more invested about the happenings at Summerset Abbey with the two sequels that are waiting at home already.My first completed #boutofbooks readathon book, by the way - for more updates follow my new bookish twitter account @bookishlou (BEST NAME EVER, I KNOOOOOOW :'D...)

  • Natasha
    2019-01-23 02:47

    Have you ever been in a situation where you were so engrossed in a game of football (or soccer, or baseball..or whatever) and just as your team was about to score when suddenly the t.v goes blank?Yes, my sentiments exactly! This book has the worst (or simply the best) cliffhanger ending I've ever encountered. Just when the story was about the get really juicy and good, it ends!I did however enjoyed the story since being a big Downtown Abbey fan this book is tailor made for me. But the pace took a while to pick up and the girls were being fairly useless (in my opinion) in the beginning.The clues to Prudence mysterious past is too obvious and is the one thing that keep me flipping the pages in a flurry. Rowena as the eldest and most attractive sibling reminds me too much of Lady Mary from Downtown Abbey except that she lacks the confidence and determination that Mary has. And Victoria the fragile and flighty younger sister has feminist aspirations of her own that seemed unbefitting of her weak physical condition.I'm sorry to say that the girls became a lot more interesting in the company of several young men. Prudence attracted a young lord's attention from the very beginning. While Rowena rescued a next door neighbour whose family is in a bitter feud with the Buxtons. Victoria also managed to befriend one of her cousin's friend who came visiting although I found their relationship somewhat puzzling.It just so sad that the author had to end the story so abruptly in order to force readers to read the next book in the series. It could have easily be an excellent stand alone with the girls finding their own happy endings and Prudence finally discovering the identity of her real father.

  • Cheryl
    2019-02-19 01:32

    Sisters Victoria and Rowena Buxton were raised by their aristocratic, widowed father during the waning days of the Edwardian Era in England. Spurning the snobbish, class-conscious lifestyle of his family, Philip Buxton sought to raise his daughters to be independent and progressive thinking young ladies. In addition, he treated Prudence, the daughter of his children’s governess, like one of his own daughters. Prudence was regarded as the third Buxton daughter. Upon the sudden death of Philip Buxton, the daughters are taken to Summerset Abbey to live with Conrad and Charlotte Buxton who relish their aristocratic lifestyle with its defined class distinctions. Prudence, however, is scorned by the family. T.J. Brown’s engrossing debut novel (the first in a trilogy) is filled with intrigue, scandal, romance, and family loyalty as the three young ladies face an uncertain future.

  • Amanda
    2019-02-08 03:32

    This was an entertaining read. I liked the way it was written and the characters were likable and well developed. I could see where the story was going about halfway through but it didn't really spoil the story for me, it was good to see it to the end and how it all came out. I was a bit disappointed that Pru didn't fight for what was hers but I can understand why she did what she did.

  • Kelly
    2019-01-31 08:42

    Bon livre avec des histoires de familles Fin un peut brusque cependant, j'aurais préférée que l'auteure explique le choix de prudence au lieu de le placer dans l'épilogue

  • Misty
    2019-02-21 07:44

    A decent 3-star story with a promising premise sunk by lamentable inaccuracies and blatant grammatical errors. By the time I finished, the most entertaining thing about this book were the gushing publishers' statements that were so far from my own assessments as to be laughable.When I read the blurb saying the author was making her "historical fiction debut," I assumed this was a blatant attempt to take advantage of Downton Abbey-mania. As I am as afflicted as anyone with DA-mania, I told myself, well, that doesn't mean it can't be good.And the jacket copy was promising. "1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society and the distant rumblings of war . . ."Yes, that would have been a rollicking good story. But that's not the story here. First, there's absolutely nothing to establish this as taking place in 1913. About the limit of the historical detail is a mention of electricity and an obsession with aeroplanes as a new technology. The Earl of Summerset makes a jab about labor unions at the annual Christmas ball, another character makes a snarky reference to 'the New Woman,' and that's as far as it goes. Fine for those who like the history in their fiction to be atmospheric rather than integral. There is also nothing to establish Summerset Abbey as being anywhere near London. Once they arrive, the characters never travel off the estate. The only things contributing to the 'Edwardian' ambiance are the large sprawling estate and the clothes.The clothes are wonderful; reading about them is a deliciously sensual experience. There is however no authorial effort made to understand either the complicated modes of address of the English peerage or the equally complicated servant hierarchies below-stairs. The Earl's father was, in one mention, a Duke. The woman Lady Summerset Ambrosia Huxley Buxton is suddenly Aunt Charlotte. And Rowena is variously and inaccurately addressed as Lady Summerset, Lady Rowena, and the Honorable Rowena Buxton, by characters who should have known that the eldest daughter of a knight is addressed as Miss Buxton. Upon her arrival, Prudence, supposed to be the ladies' maid, is sent to the scullery. The scullery maid later makes her way upstairs to wait on the sisters when Prudence doesn't feel like it. And Aunt Lady Summerset Charlotte calls her maid Hortense, when even the most casual watcher of Downton Abbey knows that Hortense, as ladies' maid, would have been addressed by her last name, a ladies' maid no matter how hated would never have been sent to the scullery, and a scullery maid was not to be seen upstairs.The errors are all the more puzzling considering that most of the setting and characters are only lightly adapted from the world of DA. Nothing about Summerset Abbey distinguishes it from the recognizable interiors of Highclere Castle. Carson has become Mr. Cairns, and is bald; Mrs. Hughes is now Mrs. Harper, without an accent; and the eldest daughter, Rowena-Mary, is dark-haired, beautiful, snobbish, and said to be impulsive, though we see no evidence of that.None of these errors would be real detractions from a ripping good story. But those young ladies seeking to fulfill their destinies . . . where did they go? All three characters spend most of the book feeling lost, listless, crippled by the grief of recently losing their father (in Prudence's case, father-figure), and musing upon why they just can't seem to rouse themselves to do anything besides change their clothes and occasionally bemoan their static fate. Doesn't make for a gripping plot. The rules of this society are, by the way, not unspoken. Prudence gets a list of rules upon her entrance through the servants' door. It's a moment of rare and welcome levity. Also, there is not a hint of rumblings of war, distant or otherwise. The characters are blissfully unaware of anything going on outside of their stately rooms.They are also not remotely aware of what's going on within. Despite the crashingly obvious hints that THERE IS SOMETHING MYSTERIOUS ABOUT PRUDENCE'S PAST, it is not until around page 230, when the ruthless and arctic Lady Summerset finally gets put into action, that this secret becomes at all interesting. While smarter readers will detect the truth around obvious hint #2, I wasn't sure until the very end, when, finally, the truth gets revealed, feelings are hurt, scandal boils, and difficult choices have to be made. Too bad it took until page 260 for things to get interesting. Immediately the book ends, save for a quick epilogue that dispenses of Prudence's "fate," clearly leaving #2 and #3 of the projected trilogy to deal with the other two daughters.I would likely have been far less mean-spirited about this review if my expectations hadn't been so glaringly raised by the publishers' copy. That I finished the book at all is a testament to, first, how terrible I am about figuring out mysteries, second how helplessly fascinated I am with historical fiction set in English great houses, and third, how desperate I am for Season 5 of Downton to premiere. But to be fair, there is something readable about this book, in the way that formula fiction (or movies) is often readable; it makes absolutely no demands on the readers' intelligence, and there is after all a time and a place for that sort of thing.

  • Jaiden
    2019-01-30 03:37

    Originally posted at: Girls on YA Books~Review: So this is another one that I don't understand all the low ratings. I will admit that it starts off rather slow and at times I was confused and had to re-read but once it got into its own rhythm I was enjoying it! It isn't anything paranormal or in today's age. It is set back in the early 1900s and when it was unladylike to go to the university. When the rich ruled and the poor worked for them in the household. Frills, parties, manners, marrying into class and all that was in style. Where you were born into the work and there was no way out. Despite all those bad parts of the days I love that time. It wasn't all bad. There is just something so elegant and proper that draws me into that time. And then of course we are in the outskirts of London throughout the book. I loved the writing of Mrs Browning. Again at first it took some getting used to and getting INto but it worked. She seemed to catch each girls emotions and turmoils really well. You felt compassion, sorrow, anger and love for them all. More anger towards Rowena but well get to the characters in a bit. Browning did a fantastic job with capturing the year too. I felt as I was in 1913. The scenery was drawn vividly. The social turmoil was laid down and explained well. I really enjoyed it. Not only that but what she delivers isn't a happy ending. That may sound terrible but sometimes I like my books to have that stone cold truth. The characters were also real and true and honest well....except for Rowena. I hated Rowena. She was fake and allowed herd to be pushed around. She wasn't honest. She wasn't real and she didn't stand up for what she thought was right. She annoyed the absolute shit out off and I hated her. She was worse than her aunt and uncle. Now the other two, Victoria and Prudence were awesome characters. Victoria was the most delicate in everyone's eyes but in actuality she was the most strong. She was the most true and right and honest. She was a lovely character and I absolutely adored her!! I really wanted her and her man to go into more romantic levels but they stayed friends and I ended up really liking that. It was right. Prudence was probably the most delicate. She was wounded easily because of her history. She was the daughter of a governess but because she grew up in the home of Mr Buxton she was sort of saved from her title. Me Buxton treated her as his own daughter instead of a governess' daughter. So when he died and they all moved to Mr. Buxton's bothered her whole life changed. She was a ladies maid to Rowena and Victoria. She was no longer an equal and it was a tough transition and she handled it well. She stayed strong and did what she was told. I came to like Rowena when she was with her guy. That was the only time I truly liked her when I could accept her and enjoy her character. She honestly meant no harm she just fell under the influence of class and pleasing people. She was also in a tough place. Of course, Victoria being my favorite, I enjoyed her all the time. And I enjoyed Prudence most of the time as well. I liked Victoria and Rowena's cousins and their friends. They were nice side characters. Then of course I fell in love with all the love interests ;P This wasn't just a tale of a tougher age and the struggles of three different girls, one more different than the others. It had a mystery to solve. Who WAS Prudence truly? Why was she disrespected so bad? It wasn't just because of her mother was a governess....there was a secret ran deeper than all was let on. Well written and a good tale of the past I really liked Summerset Abbey. I'm looking forward to the next book and anything else by Mrs Browning. Again, this book has a lot of negative reviews when I started and I was surprised. There were some positive ones but I wasn't expecting that many negative ones. Advice: don't listen. Try it out for yourself. People now are rating a hell of a lot better than they were before. I believe it has 4 stars on goodreads?? Now I think you should give it a try because you may just find you didn't read the right book to start off with and this one is. It may start a new trend in your book readings it may not. Bottom line...try it. I really liked it and can't agree with those negative reviews. Oh and you Downton Abbey!!!! It's good! If you like true If you like older!!! People... Just read ;D~Rating:3.5 of 5 stars!!!

  • Kelly (Belle of the Literati)
    2019-01-23 07:29

    "We detest that kind of showy, excessive waste. Did you know you could feed one hundred families for a year on the money spent just on the flowers for one ball?"--T.J. Brown, Summerset AbbeySummerset Abbey has that beautiful historical fiction feel that gives me warm fuzzies the entire time I'm reading it. Turn of the century for the most part, aristocracy is on the way out, women are speaking up, old stodgy men with their tumblers are being left speechless due to the "audacity" of the talk of mixing of the classes. *sigh* It's all so brilliant isn't it? I love the the idea of the old British aristocracy system...but after reading this book I've come to the conclusion that all this servant stuff was a bunch of bull. I mean, c'mon, all this talk about duty and honor and loyalty? You people are hired help, servants, the owners of the huge mansion you sleep in don't care about you. It made me sad. Oof, but my thoughts are all jumbled, ok, small rant over, let's get to the meat of the book.I enjoyed reading Summerset Abbey. It was a lovely historical picture of a time when lots of changes were happening so I loved reading about this. The talk of dinners and tea and changing into multiple gowns a day had me day dreaming about balls and petticoats. The characters for the most part I enjoyed. The main focus of the story is Prudence, the governess' daughter who grew up with Victoria and Rowena as another sister. When their father dies the girls are forced to move in with their Uncle who does not see Prudence as an extended member of the family, but rather another servant. This does not bode well with the girls. Enter the plot thickening.I loved Prudence. She was a beautifully written character. She was strong, she made the best of her dire circumstances, she held her head high, and she stuck up for herself when necessary. I really, really liked her and I was rooting for her completely the entire novel. Victoria, the younger sister, was amazing as well. Frail in physical stature but fierce in persona. This girl was a fighter. She constantly stuck up for Prudence and fought for her to be by their side and did not give up until she...well, you read it for yourself to find out :) Rowena, on the other hand, I could not stand. Ugh, she was so weak and malleable and just so unlikable. I'm sure she was written this way as to further the plot or we would have no story...but still, I didn't like her. She let her Uncle treat Pru the way he did and her excuse every time in her inner monologue was 'Well, what can I do?' Uh...stand up for your supposed SISTER!? Aggravating. Immature. Useless. I felt so bad for Pru and Victoria because with them being so strong, seeing their sister as such a weak individual was probably heart-breaking.The plot moved a little bit slower than I would have liked. While I loved reading about the times and the dressings, I could only take so much. There was a mystery involved in the story that was pretty predictable. Not every detail did I have worked out but the big picture I caught on to straight away which had me mentally probing the plot, c'mon, move faster, there ya go now, let's get movin'. The supporting characters were good but forgettable. There were small doses of romance interspersed with the rest of the story. I liked these. I would have liked to see them develop a little bit more but there is a second book coming out in March so we don't have to wait long to see what happens next.I liked the ending but it was a little abrupt. The story built slowly and then felt like it just dropped off the edge of the cliff. The epilogue was informative but vague at the same time for me. I see how things wrapped up but it didn't go into a lot of detail about it. I wish there would have been a little bit more of an eloquent conclusion. But, like I said, there is a book 2. I liked reading about the historical drama of English aristocrats. The descriptions were lovely, the main characters were beautifully written, the only downside was the pacing. I will be reading the next installment of Summerset Abbey mostly because I can't wait to see what is in store for all three sisters...Rowena included :)Original Review at

  • Joana
    2019-01-31 08:42

    Summerset Abbey is the story of 3 young women, Rowena, Prudence and Victoria.Although Prudence was the daughter of governess, she was raised and treated by Sir Philip like she was one of his daughters. Sir Philip was an uncommon man for that era, he raised them to be capable and independent women, to speak their mind and to think that everyone is equal.When Sir Philip dies, nothing could have prepare them to the grieve and to the changes that occur in their life. Until she is 25 years old or married to a proper gentleman , Rowena can't control her own destiny or even her sisters. Her uncle,has become their guardian and he is the one that decides all about the money and the estate. They all have to move to his estate at Summerset Abbey.Not everyone, her uncle doesn't want Prudence to go,so Rowena just sees one way out, he can't refuse if she goes has her lady maid.That decision ultimate will sent the 3 girls apart, while secrets are uncovered, loyalties and friendship are tested.I really enjoyed this story, i'm a huge fan of period dramas, and this particular era, always fascinated me.This one felt different because we do have the 3 POV's, from Vic, Ro and Pru, so we get to understand more their actions and to connect with them.From the 3 girls, my favorite one was Victoria, to the outside world she is seen like a frail, sick girl. But she is the strongest one, that never backs out from her believes and what she think it's right. She is the one that's revolted to see Pru, her sister, to have to act like her servant, while she should be in her rightful place.She is the one that have true ambitions for her future and don't let her physical limitations put her down.So basically i do think she is awesome.Rowena and even Prudence, were harder for me to relate to, many of their actions i just couldn't get it. The incapacity of Rowena speak up and just tell her uncle what she wanted, becomes unbearable rift between those 2. Especially when she is not honest with Pru and let it all roll, she prefers to live and guilt and avoid her than to be honest. To let her know she is afraid, she doesn't know what to do, that she feels lost and responsible for all of it.And Pru, that must had to be a shock, to always been treated like a lady and part of the family, to feel she is underneath them. To really see how sheltered she was by Sir Philip, and that the rest of the world don't mix the classes, there is forever a line to separate the two. And now she doesn't know where she belongs anymore.The story builds up slowly but intentionally, to show that world and the differences and changes we see in them.And well, it's not only drama in this book, we get mysteries and romance too. There is plane rides (when they were perhaps the most dangerous thing ever), automobile lift, a secret room shared by friends (that i hope they'll became something more), and so on.I just got to add, that i'm glad this will be a series (i read thinking it was a stand alone), because i'm still crossed with that ending (view spoiler)[ i still don't get why she needed to get married, for all the wrong reasons. She did have other choices(hide spoiler)] and i just want happiness for this 3.*egalley kindly provided by Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via Netgalley in exchange of a honest review.

  • Patrícia
    2019-02-06 03:32

    As Mulheres de Summerset Abbey (Summerset Abbey, #1) Classificação: 2.5 estrelas (mais ou menos) Comprei este livro principalmente pela associação com a série de TV Downton Abbey. É uma série de época bastante conhecida e apesar de não a adorar acho que é bastante interessante. Na sequência da popularidade da série apareceram vários livros de ficção histórica passados na época exactamente anterior à 1.ª Guerra Mundial. Este é um deles. Não tinha expectativas, pelo que não me senti particularmente chateada quando o livro revelou ser "nada de especial". É uma leitura agradável, certamente, e percebe-se que a autora tinha a intenção de explorar a dinâmica das diferentes classes sociais no início do século XX (um período de acentuada mudança social, geopolítica e tecnológica), mas é bastante óbvio que T.J. Brown não soube equilibrar correctamente as diversas vertentes (a luta de classes, a exploração da personalidade de três mulheres e o romance) que quis incluir no livro. Rowena, Victoria e Prudence cresceram juntas na casa de Londres de Sir Buxton, apesar de Prudence ser filha da governanta. Mas quando o pai de Rowena e Victoria morre, dá-se uma mudança radical na vida destas três jovens; são levadas para Summerset Abbey, a casa ancestral do Conde de Summerset, o irmão de Sir Buxton. Aí, são confrontadas com uma realidade muito diferente da que estavam habituadas; os Buxton são aristocratas e orgulham-se do facto. E apesar de Rowena e Victoria serem da família, Prudence não é. O livro explora as jornadas destas três mulheres: Rowena, dividida entre o mundo sedutor da superioridade aristocrática e a educação igualitária que recebeu; Victoria, que anseia ser mais do que é; e Prudence que se vê relegada para o papel de criada, apesar de ter sido criada como irmã das Buxon, e que sente na pele, pela primeira vez, o quão injusta é a sociedade. O problema deste livro é ser demasiado curto. São 290 páginas nas quais a autora pretendia caracterizar três mulheres complexas que vivem uma situação complexa numa época complexa. Escusado será dizer que não funcionou. Nada é explorado a fundo, as "mulheres de Summerset Abbey" não se desenvolvem assim muito ao longo do livro (excepto, Prudence) e o romance é tudo menos verosímil. Mesmo assim, gostei da escrita e certamente do conceito; mas gostaria que as protagonistas mostrassem mais personalidade e que a luta de classes fosse mais evidenciada. No geral, uma leitura agradável, mas bastante mais superficial do que esperava.

  • Ruby
    2019-01-27 08:24

    This review was originally posted on Ruby's Reads.When an author begins with a British setting, then adds in an abbey and a young lord, they’ve pretty much guaranteed an audience in me. And, with the success of Downton Abbey, I’ve been in luck. Publishers are on the hunt for read-alikes, and YA imprints are no exception. When I began dipping my toes back in the NetGalley pond, there were two titles I requested right away: Cinders and Sapphires and Summerset Abbey. And when I got declined for Cinders and Sapphires (I thought, as an educator, I might have a chance) and accepted for Summerset Abbey, my desire to read the latter went through the roof.Things started off okay. I knew immediately that Summerset wasn’t going to be the best historical I’d ever read, but I enjoyed the introduction to the world and the characters. Plus, the aforementioned young lord shows up pretty fast. While it didn’t pass my stringent Rules of Titles tests (is the Countess of Edgmont called Lady Edgmont [right] or Lady Charlotte [wrong]?), Summerset Abbey was entertaining enough to keep me going. For a while, anyway.Where the book fails isn’t in its representation of the era in which it is set. It fails in its characters. There are three main ones, and the story alternates between those mentioned in the description: Rowena, Victoria and Prudence. Each sister has a story, complete with a potential love interest–fortunately. Unfortunately, all of the characters are lame. There really isn’t a better descriptive word.Rowena manages to arrange for Prudence to come to Summerset Abbey despite her uncle’s objections, but then proceeds to ignore her and treat her like a servant. And when she feels bad about doing so? She only acts more stuck-up. Victoria, the youngest of the three, is all talk and no action. She badgers Rowena for forcing Prudence to become a lady’s maid and then forgets about her for pages at a time, and doesn’t do anything to actually help Prudence. Unless you count her last, ridiculously misguided attempt. And Prudence complains about her situation as a lady’s maid–an outsider among the servants and and outsider among the inhabitants of Summerset–but doesn’t do anything about it, either. Ultimately, she makes a TSTL decision that makes no sense at all.Here’s what really gets me: Prudence’s situation (lady’s maid job aside) is actually a really compelling one, and perfectly suited to the time period. The 1900′s–especially in England–were a time when old traditions were starting to lose ground. The master-servant relationship was being tested and redefined. There were more opportunities for men, but more importantly–women. It makes me weep to see such juicy meat for a story go to such waste.I think Summerset Abbey will definitely find an audience. Fans of the Luxe Series by Anna Godberson will probably enjoy it. The more discerning reader, however, will need to keep looking.

  • Laurel
    2019-02-23 01:24

    Summerset AbbeyReading this book provided me with an enjoyable experience mid-week, as I waited for the upcoming Sunday episode of Downton Abbey. Set in the years before the onset of WW I, this initial volume of Brown's trilogy introduces us to three lovely young women-Rowena, Victoria and Prudence. They are living a rather unusual life for upper class young women of this era. Their father, a botanist, has sheltered them from the highly structured social life of wealthy debutantes, by allowing them to follow their own interests and hobbies. They are well educated, but not driven to find an appropriate match from the hordes of eligible blue blooded bachelors, the cream of London high society.Additionally, Prudence has been raised as an equal to the other girls, although her mother was Rowena and Victoria's governess. The trio's idyllic life is torn to shreds by the death of their father. His brother, Lord Buxton, decides to move the girls to his massive estate, Summerset Abbey, where they will live until they reach the age of twenty-five. Moreover, he insists that the only way Prudence can join the girls, is if she comes as a lady's maid, rather than recognizing her as one of the three young heiresses. How the girls cope with the aftermath of this decision, provides the storyline for the novel. Since Prudence is now a servant, we see how her life at the Abbey unfolds in stark contrast to her situation before the botanist died. Lord and Lady Grantham of Downton Abbey fame, are certainly benevolent employers, compared to the master and mistress of Summerset Abbey. If you enjoy reading about the upstairs/downstairs life of the master and mistress of Summerset Abbey versus that of countless servants, this book should be on your reading horizon. Lots of details regarding room decor, fashion, expected behaviour and etiquette, are provided by the author, in order to bring the abbey to life. Rowena, Victoria and Prudence must cope with a very different day-to-day existence, and the reader is along for for the ride!The book ended rather suddenly, but I did not mind, since I have the second volume of the trilogyA Bloom in Winter ready to read. I am keen to discover what will happen to Rowena, Victoria and poor Prudence.

  • Gayle Pace
    2019-01-28 05:28

    available 1-15-2013BLURB:1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society and the distant rumblings of war. . . .REVIEW:Rowena Buxton Three young girls were raised in a bohemian household by Sir Philip Buxton. They grew into beautiful and capable young women, even though the house defied Edwardian tradition. Each one was taught different things. Rowena the oldest, was taught to value people instead of fame and riches. When Sir Phillip dies, she will be put to the test about what she's been taught. The uncle takes over guardianship of the girls when Sir Philip dies. The huge family estate is called SUMMERSET ABBEY. Rowena must decide where she stands when a beloved family member is sent to the "underclass" and put into a social circle called the Cunning Coterie, which is run by "rebels".Victoria Buxton Victoria was rather frail but filled with abundant spirit. She dreams of going to university. She wants to become a botanist like her father. This is considered un-ladylike. She has another secret. She unwittingly found out about a family scandal that could change all of their lives forever.....Prudence Tate Prudence was born a governess's daughter and to the lord of SUMMERSET ABBEY. She was brought up with the same love as Victoria and Rowena. Their bond was as though they were blood sisters. But, because of her birth parents she is a commoner who has her place in society—as a maid to her beloved “sisters.” She no more belongs in the world of household staff than she belongs with the Buxton girls. Then a young lord grabs her attention. She wonders if she'll ever belong at SUMMERSET ABBEYWill the girls split up and no longer be sisters? Prudence was brought up with luxuries just like the other two, but will she take her place as a commoner? I felt the book could have been a little more descriptive.It wasn't a real page turner for me. The book was good, it just lacked something. I rate it at 3 stars.T.J. Brown's sweeping trilogy is set in Edwardian England with SUMMERSET ABBEY as her fiction debut. She lives in Portland, Oregon.I received this complimentary e-copy of SUMMERSET ABBEY from Net Galley on behalf of the author T.J. Brown for this unbiased review.http://bemiown.blogspot.com

  • Aly
    2019-01-27 04:25

    Summerset Abbey is probably the only book I have been SO divided about. Did it have attractive guys: YESDid it have a good/twisting plot: YESWas it historical: YESWere all the protagonists likable: HELL NO!I'm just going to go right ahead and start on ROWENA who has to be the weakest, stupidest, cowardly excuse of a human being ever! You grow up with a girl in a very close, sisterly way, and then you ALLOW her to be ripped away from everything she's ever known without batting an eyelash (okay that makes her sound kinda heartless which she wasn't totally but if you stand there without putting up a fight, you might as well be batting your eyelashes) Victoria fought and by George she nearly won but was it enough? No. Who listens to the sickly little girl? NO ONE. Rowena throughout the entire book: "I'm going to bitch and moan about how my life sucks while not really doing anything about it because I'm so ashamed that i'm not doing anything about it." While I loved Victoria, it seemed despite all her righteousness she completely forgot about Prudence while she went out and lived her life. I didn't expect them to spend her whole life boycotting life to get Prudence some recognition but I'm asking for more than a 2 second worry here! Did it ever occur to her to take Prudence on her walks to Nanny Iris? Or to force her to sleep in her room or at least help her dress as well? No! I understand that women did not have a lot of rights or control but they had SOME power over their "maid" and while their uncle was a cold-hearted man why not keep it up? If their father raised them up in a different lifestyle, why was it so easy for them to transition into grandeur? Prudence was probably my favorite character except the ending. It was abrupt and out of no where but I guess i'll have to read on the see what happens. Okay, now the good things (because they were there just not as prominent as the bad things): -The secondary characters were (if not rich and detailed) lively and fun-The setting was beautifully described-It was easy to read and get entrapped in the world of Summerset Abbey which is why I'm more upset at Prudence's treatment than anyone in the book-It discusses some issues such as the generation gap, the nobility/gentry's hold of power and women's rightsReminded me a lot about Downton Abbey (kept trying to place the characters in the book with the cast of the show)

  • Kaye
    2019-01-28 05:33

    Basically, Summerset Abbey revolves around two sisters, Rowena and Victoria Buxton, and their "sister" Prudence Tate who has been brought up right alongside them by Sir Philip. Not a Buxton by birth but the daughter of their late governess, Prudence has had the same privileged but somewhat unconventional lifestyle as Rowena and Victoria and the two sisters think of Prudence as another sister. This all changes after Sir Philip's death.Forced to move to Summerset Abbey by their uncle, the two girls are now separated from Prudence as the Earl of Summerset views her solely as a maid. Prudence now has to live downstairs with the other servants and has a very tough time adjusting. Although the times are slowly changing, Aunt Charlotte is still dedicated to the more conventional societal mores and wants only to find socially acceptable husbands for Rowena and Victoria. In 1913 this is just about the only option for young ladies from titled families. The two sisters have other ideas as neither one of them is even remotely interested in marriage. So they say.The characterizations are fairly well done. I had somewhat of an emotional reaction to all of them; Rowena I just wanted to tell her to get a grip, Prudence was probably my favorite and I felt sorry for Victoria with her poor health and her distress at their situation. Even having said all this, the book lacked real substance. Summerset Abbey gave voice to all three women but focused more on Prudence and constantly hinted at her family secret. It was pretty transparent to me from the get-go what that was all about. No surprise there, just a lot of melodrama!Upon seeing the cover for this one and thinking it sounded a lot like the Downton Abbey production, I was expecting great things; maybe too much expectation. Wanting lush descriptions and more of a grand scale family saga, I was a tad disappointed there wasn't more substance to the plot. I realize this is the first book in the trilogy and the author is setting the scene and letting the reader get to know the characters but still, the ending for one character didn't seem to fit and it was too much of an unsuspected cliffhanger. I liked it, but, alas, I wanted to love it. 3***At the end of the book, there is a short excerpt from the second in the series, plus a discussion guide for this book.Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Gallery /Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • nomadreader (Carrie D-L)
    2019-02-08 02:38

    (originally published at backstory: Summerset Abbey is the first in a new young adult Edwardian trilogy.The basics: When their father dies, Rowena and Victoria Buxton are forced to leave their home and go live with their aunt and uncle. It's a house the girls know well, as they've visited each year. In order to bring Prudence, the daughter of their now deceased governess, whom they think of as a sister, the girls have no choice but to have Prudence come as their lady's maid.My thoughts: Summerset Abbey ties in so well with the Downton Abbey craze (how long until season four makes its way to the U.S.?) It's story isn't as complex, but it is wonderfully entertaining. I like to think of the Edwardian era as a kind of coming of age for England (and much of the world.) To see these young women entering adulthood at such a time of changing priorities is quite fascinating. By going from a more liberal worldview of their father, who treated Prudence as a daughter and encourage all three girls to rally for women's vote, to the more traditional and conservative world of their uncle is a challenge for all three girls.While all three girls share narration, I was most drawn to Prudence's story (I imagine Rowena and Victoria will each take a turn with more of a starring role in the trilogy's remaining tow books.) All three girls are caught between two worlds, but Prudence doesn't have a true role in either the upstairs or downstairs life. Further complicating the matter is her quest to learn more about her mother and thus herself.Favorite passage: "Most people don't want to be alone with their thoughts," he finally said. "Maybe they have boring thoughts."The verdict: Summerset Abbey is an entertaining glimpse into Edwardian England and a delightful tale of friendship in a changing time. Brown strikes just the right note of tying up some storylines while leaving others open for the next two installments of this trilogy. What keeps this book from feeling too much of a Downton clone are the characters. Summerset Abbey doesn't necessarily break the mold, but well-developed characters set against a fascinating cultural and historical backdrop make this novel delightfully engaging and entertaining. I'm eagerly awaiting the second book in the series, which is due in March.