Last week I finished the book Goodbye Piccadilly by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. I have read a few books of Cynthia Harrod-Eagles in her "Morland Dynasty" series which range from the Renaissance to the 1920s time period, so you can find a time period you can enjoy. You will probably not be surprised but I like the books set in the Edwardian Period to the 1920s... so I was intrigued when I saw she is writing a series just about World War I.
The story is mostly set around the Hunter family... who are middle class with the husband working as a banker and the wife stays at home to mind the household and servants. The story starts off a little slow and what is happening in mainland Europe is just in the back ground. My main criticism of the story is that their are a lot of characters. While there are the Hunters and their 5 maybe 6 kids, there is also their servants, Mr. Hunter's sister and her own plot line. I am hoping as this is a series that we will get to see all these characters plots unfold and it won't be fruitless to keep track of their stories.
The two characters I was most interested in were the Hunter daughters Diana and Sadie. Diana is casted as the beauty of the village who has lots of suitors but her focus is on Charles Wroughton, who is the oldest son of the Earl. While Charles is in good position in society he is not the most social person mostly because of nerves and fear of not knowing what to say. So when he catches Diana's eyes he is actually intrigues that this beautiful girl is attracted to him. Of course his family thinks she is just a fortune hunter... and while that might be a bit true she is honestly interested in him.
The next daughter Sadie, is sixteen and loves horse and actually doesn't want to be out in society for her only destiny to be marriage. She gets a position (most likely volunteer) to help ride horses in order to get them ready for soldiers and begins a crush on the veterinarian. I hope in the other books she will be able to develop and do real war work.
I also hope in the other books they will develop David, the oldest son of the Hunters, who enlisted in the army a few days after the war.
Outside of the Hunter family is the Hunter family servants. Ethel the young housemaid seems a little arrogant and full of herself... she kind of reminded me of the Ethel character in Downton Abbey, I hope she won't suffer the same fate.
As the story was about the the same period that I am currently writing about I found the story inspiring and I think I spent some of my usual commute time reading to write out scenes. Also after falling in love with Susanna Kearsley this summer I would love to find an author who wrote WWI novels in her style. Do you have any suggestions?
As I said there are other books, I think only one other is out set in 1915 called Keep the Home Fire Burning but the library doesn't have it yet... so I will keep waiting to see what happens next.
Overall: I liked the story, but I could do with less characters and I don't know if the casual reader would enjoy a lot of the historical content... however I think it proves that Cynthia Harrod-Eagles has truly done her work and keeps it based in reality.