Friday 13 January 2017

Review ~ The Buttonmaker's Daughter by Merryn Allingham

A bit of blurb...

May, 1914. 

Nestled in Sussex, the Summerhayes mansion seems the perfect country idyll. But with a long-running feud in the Summers family and tensions in Europe deepening, Summerhayes’ peaceful days are numbered.

For Elizabeth Summer, the lazy quiet of her home has become stifling. A chance meeting with Aiden Kellaway, an architect’s assistant, offers the secret promise of escape, but her marriage to a man of trade has no place in her father’s plans. In the ensuing conflict, Elizabeth along with her family faces a dangerous future.

As the sweltering heat of 1914 builds to a storm, she faces a choice between family loyalty and an uncertain life with the man she loves.One thing is definite: this summer will change everything.

My thoughts about the book...

The last halcyon days of summer 1914 are the focus for this well written historical saga which explores the stifling atmosphere of living and working in one of England's large country estates.

Elizabeth Summer, the eponymous button maker's daughter, finds that she is about to be the centre of a family conspiracy but her burgeoning relationship with one of her father's employees, ensures that Elizabeth's loyalty to her family will be tested to the limit.

Initially, the uncertainty of what is happening in Europe doesn't seem to be having much effect on Elizabeth or the people who live at Summerhayes, but as the story progresses there is a shift in the tension and a palpable dissent starts to appear. We watch as Elizabeth becomes more and more unsettled, not just because of her own romantic awakening, but also because of the declining relationships within her family as long buried secrets threaten to disturb the very fine balance between love and hate.

The story may seem a little slow at the start but I think that this was a deliberate ploy to echo the slowness and laziness of the long hot summer. Gradually as the story strands start to come together the plot becomes tighter and much more complicated. I enjoyed the imagery within the story and in particular the descriptions of the gardens at Summerhayes and of the work of the young architect, Aiden Kellaway, who features so strongly in Elizabeth's life.

The author has a gift for storytelling; she writes well with a fine eye for historical detail and I am sure that readers who enjoy this style of historical fiction will find much to enjoy in The Buttonmaker's Daughter.

Best Read With of cook's pork pies and a glass of iced lemonade..

About the Author

Follow on Twitter @MerrynWrites

My thanks to the publishers and to Alice at Midas for my review copy of 
The Buttonmaker's Daughter

Read an interview with the author by clicking here

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