Author: Julian Fellowes
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
The year is 1815 and the creme de la creme of British society in Brussels has come together for a party to be remembered. What they can’t foresee is that most of the gentleman in that ballroom will be killed the next day at the Battle of Waterloo. Among those who were killed was the handsome Edmund Brockenhurst, Lord Bellasis. Prior to his death he’d become acquainted with Miss Sophia Trenchard, daughter of General Wellington’s supplier, and member of a different class. Tragically, Sophia dies months later as well. The impact of this liaison will not be felt however, until 25 years later, back in London where the Trenchards are now living in the fashionable neighborhood of Belgravia, when societal classes will clash and you’ll be left wondering if sometime secrets are better left in the past.
Being an Anglophile, especially in what I read, I decided I wanted to branch out from my normal pick of historical romance. I was a big fan of Downton Abbey (and The Crown, Victoria…you get the idea), so when I saw this novel and read the quick synopsis, I knew I had to give it a try. The historical facts and accuracy in this book as it pertains to the time period and specifically Belgravia, were amazing. I found myself wanting to research if this or that was true. The story itself is fascinating. In true Downton Abbey form, you’re introduced to both the upstairs and downstairs stories and how they intermix, while also showing how difficult it was to climb the social system in Britain at that time through the unlikely alliance of two families. After the initial chapters in Brussels, the story slows for a bit while the past is taking shape. However, the use of historical facts and detail in the writing is what keeps the story moving. With some expected and other unexpected turns, you feel like things come to the right conclusion in the end and that the turmoril of the secrets from 25 years ago that you can’t help to feel yourself have settled.