In 1936, Thea Cavendish has a rude awakening when she discovers the death of her father in the newspaper and the double life he led. Banned from his funeral, she secretly attends his internment, where she meets her half-brother, the new Earl of Westborough, Piers Devine. She is welcomed into the Devine Family by Piers but is shunned by the Dowager Countess Clarissa Devine. Over time a series of events lead her into the unravelling of her past origins, all played out against the backdrop of World War II. Thea's happiness will be ultimately defined by what she discovers when her own family give up their secrets...
From the moment I opened this book, I was hopelessly hooked. It is a wonderfully written family saga in the vein of Downtown Abbey, but in this case, it truly is as good or better than the award winning television series.
It opens with Thea who live alone with her mother. One morning, she opens the newspaper to see a picture of the man she has always known as her father. It is a death announcement. What is even more shocking, the obituary lists him as the Earl of Westborough! It is then she learns that her father had been living a double life with two different families - her mother his mistress, and she a bastard child.
The family lawyer reveals the truth and Thea and her mother are well provided for, but she secretly is intrigued by her father's other family. It is then she goes to the funeral and meets her half-brother, the new Earl, Piers. What follows is a tale of love, forgiveness, and acceptance, with many more secrets and difficulties yet to come.
This was beautifully written, captivating in all its aspects, with larger than life characters who are so real, I felt I had known them for years. Each character has their own journey, their own difficulties to overcome, and this is what makes the story such a page turner.
Bar none - this is one of the best historical family sagas I have ever read! Read it and see for yourself.