Pommeroy, by Cate Charleston

This is a sprawling, dreamlike book, like one has opened a door into the life of a stately Edwardian manor and is not in a hurry to find the way out. I had a hard time in the beginning connecting and getting a sense of the narrative thread in the beginning, but once I did, I was completely hooked. There is a gravity to the book coming out of the tragedy of the Second Boer War that has altered their lives that appealed to me immensely, and the sensitivity is so finely tuned. One of my favorite (although painful) scenes, is Lord Richard entering the head gardener’s cottage to retrieve a book he has loaned and briefly sitting in a chair by the fire wondering if he will be offered tea. When tea is not forthcoming, he leaves. That’s the surface level. Underneath, he is realizing with dawning horror that in his desperation to see the woman he loves he has forced his presence on her because she can’t, because of her lower social status, tell him to leave or even indicate that she is uncomfortable being alone with him. It’s an absolutely gorgeous book in its restraint. By the end, I was turning pages, feeling my heart beat fast because I had fallen so in love with these characters, I had to find out what happened next.