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Rutherford Park: A Novel by Elizabeth Cooke
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Rutherford Park: A Novel

by Elizabeth Cooke

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Nothing like downton abbey!!!!!! The only similarities are England and rich people lol. Not a great read at all... And after finishing it I couldn't even remember half the characters. ( )
  pickleroad | Nov 10, 2016 |
Set in a Yorkshire Estate just prior to the outbreak of World War I.
It started out quite promising with a few interesting storylines involving the Cavendish family and their servants. I was predisposed to like this book since I’m a fan of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs. Sadly, this did not live up to my expectations. Lots of intrigue and secrets, but too many characters and changes in points of view that the story got muddled for me and I couldn’t connect with most of the characters. ( )
  bluebird_ | Jan 16, 2016 |
Rutherford Park is the palatial home of Lord William and Lady Octavia Cavendish. Nestled in the Yorkshire countryside, the peaceful-appearing estate is an island unto itself, but the secrets that run deep among the Cavendish family and their staff and the coming of war threaten to fracture the idyllic, if suddenly fragile, life the aristocratic family has come to know. As World War I looms on the horizon William struggles to maintain his family and their refuge at Rutherford Park even as his nearest and dearest seem to be moving beyond his grasp.

In Rutherford Park, Cooke allows us to sneak a peek beneath the proper and orderly surface of the Cavendish family and their estate. William takes comfort in order and propriety, but his wife Octavia chafes at the bonds of what is considered appropriate behavior for the lady of the house. She longs to show her love effusively, to walk barefoot in the grass, to cuddle her children instead of resigning them to the staff to raise, but William despite being well-meaning is embarrassed by her improper behavior. The couple's children, Harry, who wants nothing more than to fly away from an indiscretion that ended in tragedy; naïve Louisa, who is about to make her debut in society, and Charlotte, the youngest daughter who might just be a budding activist for change are each slipping away from William and Octavia in their own ways. As William rushes to gather his family back to himself and to the safety of Rutherford Park in the days before the war, past indiscretions and current scandals threaten to undo the life he and Octavia have built together.

In such a book as Rutherford Park, it might be tempting for the author to focus solely on the Cavendish family. Their feelings and foibles certainly could a whole book make. However, Cooke makes the wise decision to take on the estate as a whole exploring the lives of the many servants who keep the wealthy Cavendish household up and running. From the housemaids, Mary and Emily who made their escape from the dangers of mill work only to come face to face with other heartbreaks, to the footman, Nash, who delights in the occasional book of poetry pilfered from William's library, to the farrier, Jack Armitage, who shared an unexpected and perplexing moment with one of the Cavendish daughters, Cooke breathes life into the whole breadth of characters that make Rutherford Park tick. The result is a book that quietly explores the beginning of the end of a way of life through the co-mingled lives of a family whose wealthy way of life is becoming unsuitable and unsustainable and the people whose existence as mere servants is slowly drawing to a close.

Rutherford Park is an unexpectedly deep and wide portrait of not just a family but an entire estate's worth of people. Rather than focus on drama and scandal, Cooke makes the excellent decision to zero in on her characters' inner lives. As a result, characters both major and minor leap off the page, and much to Cooke's credit she manages to make very nearly all of her cast sympathetic to readers who might not agree with their actions but who might well commiserate with their feelings and motivations. If you are a lover of historical fiction or can appreciate a few great character studies, you'll find much to enjoy in Rutherford Park. Recommended! ( )
  yourotherleft | Sep 7, 2013 |
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Snow had fallen in the night, and now the great house, standing at the head of the valley, seemed like a five-hundred-year-old ship sailing in a white ocean.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425262588, Paperback)

Snow had fallen in the night, and now the great house, standing at the head of the valley, seemed like a five-hundred-year old ship sailing in a white ocean…

For the Cavendish family, Rutherford Park is much more than a place to call home. It is a way of life marked by rigid rules and lavish rewards, governed by unspoken desires…
 
Lady of the house Octavia Cavendish lives like a bird in a gilded cage. With her family’s fortune, her husband, William, has made significant additions to the estate, but he too feels bound—by the obligations of his title as well as his vows. Their son, Harry, is expected to follow in his footsteps, but the boy has dreams of his own, like pursuing the new adventure of aerial flight. Meanwhile, below stairs, a housemaid named Emily holds a secret that could undo the Cavendish name.
 
On Christmas Eve 1913, Octavia catches a glimpse of her husband in an intimate moment with his beautiful and scandalous distant cousin. She then spies the housemaid Emily out in the snow, walking toward the river, about to make her own secret known to the world. As the clouds of war gather on the horizon, an epic tale of longing and betrayal is about to unfold at Rutherford Park…

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:27 -0400)

"Snow had fallen in the night, and now the great house, standing at the head of the valley, seemed like a five-hundred-year old ship sailing in a white ocean. For the Cavendish family, Rutherford Park is much more than a place to call home. It is a way of life marked by rigid rules and lavish rewards, governed by unspoken desires. Lady of the house Octavia Cavendish lives like a bird in a gilded cage. With her family's fortune, her husband, William, has made significant additions to the estate, but he too feels bound-by the obligations of his title as well as his vows. Their son, Harry, is expected to follow in his footsteps, but the boy has dreams of his own, like pursuing the new adventure of aerial flight. Meanwhile, below stairs, a housemaid named Emily holds a secret that could undo the Cavendish name. On Christmas Eve 1913, Octavia catches a glimpse of her husband in an intimate moment with his beautiful and scandalous distant cousin. She then spies the housemaid Emily out in the snow, walking toward the river, about to make her own secret known to the world. As the clouds of war gather on the horizon, an epic tale of longing and betrayal is about to unfold at Rutherford Park"--… (more)

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