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Willow Grove Abbey

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Willow Grove Abbey is the first novel in the Somerville Trilogy, set in England, and spanning the years from 1935 to 1945. This fast-paced novel focuses upon the life of the primary character, Lady Sophia Somerville, who begins life as the daughter of the charismatic but unscrupulous Earl Nigel Somerville and his wife, the breathtaking, but rage-prone Countess Pamela Some Willow Grove Abbey is the first novel in the Somerville Trilogy, set in England, and spanning the years from 1935 to 1945. This fast-paced novel focuses upon the life of the primary character, Lady Sophia Somerville, who begins life as the daughter of the charismatic but unscrupulous Earl Nigel Somerville and his wife, the breathtaking, but rage-prone Countess Pamela Somerville. Sophia’s journey of growth begins with her attendance at The Ashwick Park School, followed by her much anticipated debutante season, both of which become watershed moments in her life. Written in the first person, this book is rich in historical detail about the fascinating era in which she lives, and the reader experiences those tumultuous times through Sophia’s eyes. Willow Grove Abbey is a love story which faces tremendous obstacles due to Sophia’s parent’s refusal to give their blessing to a marriage between their daughter and the man she adores, physician and RAF Group Captain, Spencer Stanton. It is also the story of her relationship with school mate and dearest friend, Edwina Phillips, which takes the reader from the joyous times of youth in the 1930’s to heartbreaking betrayal. The interaction between these two individuals forms the core of this character-driven book. Lastly, it is the story of a highly esteemed British family, which appears to be the epitome of grace, charm and dignity, when in reality, they are intensely flawed. Sophia struggles with her lifelong need for parental approval versus her emerging values and morals, while long held family secrets emerge and threaten to destroy the Somerville family. She is faced with an untenable decision... whether to hold fast to her values and accept permanent estrangement from her family, or continue to be the dependent, young girl her parents have always insisted that she be. As she grows, she is faced with the daunting challenge of attempting to comprehend, forgive, and unconditionally love her profoundly imperfect family. .


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Willow Grove Abbey is the first novel in the Somerville Trilogy, set in England, and spanning the years from 1935 to 1945. This fast-paced novel focuses upon the life of the primary character, Lady Sophia Somerville, who begins life as the daughter of the charismatic but unscrupulous Earl Nigel Somerville and his wife, the breathtaking, but rage-prone Countess Pamela Some Willow Grove Abbey is the first novel in the Somerville Trilogy, set in England, and spanning the years from 1935 to 1945. This fast-paced novel focuses upon the life of the primary character, Lady Sophia Somerville, who begins life as the daughter of the charismatic but unscrupulous Earl Nigel Somerville and his wife, the breathtaking, but rage-prone Countess Pamela Somerville. Sophia’s journey of growth begins with her attendance at The Ashwick Park School, followed by her much anticipated debutante season, both of which become watershed moments in her life. Written in the first person, this book is rich in historical detail about the fascinating era in which she lives, and the reader experiences those tumultuous times through Sophia’s eyes. Willow Grove Abbey is a love story which faces tremendous obstacles due to Sophia’s parent’s refusal to give their blessing to a marriage between their daughter and the man she adores, physician and RAF Group Captain, Spencer Stanton. It is also the story of her relationship with school mate and dearest friend, Edwina Phillips, which takes the reader from the joyous times of youth in the 1930’s to heartbreaking betrayal. The interaction between these two individuals forms the core of this character-driven book. Lastly, it is the story of a highly esteemed British family, which appears to be the epitome of grace, charm and dignity, when in reality, they are intensely flawed. Sophia struggles with her lifelong need for parental approval versus her emerging values and morals, while long held family secrets emerge and threaten to destroy the Somerville family. She is faced with an untenable decision... whether to hold fast to her values and accept permanent estrangement from her family, or continue to be the dependent, young girl her parents have always insisted that she be. As she grows, she is faced with the daunting challenge of attempting to comprehend, forgive, and unconditionally love her profoundly imperfect family. .

30 review for Willow Grove Abbey

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cat Bellu

    Very good If more history books were written like this I would have learned much more! This author wove history into the story of these people very seamlessly. I can hardly wait to begin the second book in the series. I highly recommend this book. Alot of details, but not the blood and smut that so many authors rely upon to pass as storytelling.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Trammell

    Good book Such a wonderful emotion filled book. Can't wait to read the others in the series. I will recommend this book! Good book Such a wonderful emotion filled book. Can't wait to read the others in the series. I will recommend this book!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Great read Great historical novel set during WWII, a story of how secrets and lies can destroy lives, can't wait to read book 2 Great read Great historical novel set during WWII, a story of how secrets and lies can destroy lives, can't wait to read book 2

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    This was definitely an amusing read. I went into this book thinking it was going to be a kind of Jane Austin book set in a more modern era... I was mistaken but soon came to terms with what this book is: a drama. It definitely had some flaws; the foremost of which is using the word "beastly" much more than necessary. Everything, from the mundane to the extreme, is described as "beastly" in this book. Is this reflective of the lingo that was used in this era? Perhaps. But I do have a hard time be This was definitely an amusing read. I went into this book thinking it was going to be a kind of Jane Austin book set in a more modern era... I was mistaken but soon came to terms with what this book is: a drama. It definitely had some flaws; the foremost of which is using the word "beastly" much more than necessary. Everything, from the mundane to the extreme, is described as "beastly" in this book. Is this reflective of the lingo that was used in this era? Perhaps. But I do have a hard time believing any one word was so prevalent. One of my biggest beefs with this book was (view spoiler)[the marriage to Spence. At first her parents are so adamantly against it and next they're welcoming him graciously to their home? I understand this is after their daughter became "damaged goods" but you'd think their prior protests over at least the religion would stand. Don't tell me there isn't a man in this world of theirs who wouldn't forget her colourful past in an instant at the thought of her dowry and title. There is. Trust me, there is. So for Sophia's parents to take a 180 with regards to Spence just seems absolutely ridiculous to me. Also, I expected "Mummy" to throw a tantrum when Sophia revealed the fact that Isabella wasn't Owen's daughter. I mean, she did a bit... but I expected it to be much greater a fuss. Instead it turned into a happy fun family time which was very odd. (hide spoiler)] My other problem with this book was that it was predictable but I will never know if it was predictable because I figured it out or if it's because the book out right tells you shit's going to hit the fan beforehand. I absolutely hated this about this book. Not far into the book Sophia just blurts out (view spoiler)[ that Edwina betrays her later. This made it so obvious later at the first hint of Edwina hiding something about an OLDER man to just say "okay, yep. Dis bitch be fucking Sophia's dad". Would I have guessed that myself? Maybe? Probably? But I would have liked to experience that MYSELF, thank you very much, Ms. Payne! It's almost as if Payne didn't want her book to be called predictable so she headed off the readers and said, "Well I'll TELL you ahead of time so I can come back with 'of course it was predictable! I had Sophia tell you it was going to happen!'" It's annoying! (hide spoiler)] Despite my criticisms I did still enjoy it. I didn't think the characters were all that realistic or that the plot was very cleverly done but it still managed to pull me in and I enjoyed it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I was really hoping to love this book so I could read the whole series, but I didn't. The characters were hard to love, except maybe one character who had his head on pretty straight. The rest of it was about foolish decisions by foolish people with terrible baggage. I was really hoping to love this book so I could read the whole series, but I didn't. The characters were hard to love, except maybe one character who had his head on pretty straight. The rest of it was about foolish decisions by foolish people with terrible baggage.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Nissel bernatz

    Had a promising start but seemed to deteriorate into a formula romance.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris DeVries

  8. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Berge

  9. 4 out of 5

    Helen Fadalla Hotard

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

  11. 4 out of 5

    Annie

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anne Davidson

  13. 4 out of 5

    E Kay

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rosalie Molloy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bernice Wajda Wajda

  17. 4 out of 5

    April

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joretta L Heestandvs

  19. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Howard

  20. 4 out of 5

    shirley whitaker

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jan Nims

  22. 5 out of 5

    Margo Head

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Mayo

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sadie Densmore

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lois Welch

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lois Ruppel

  27. 5 out of 5

    suzie q

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alta Showalter

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kels Bloore

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jean Krawciw

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