Monday, March 3, 2014

Staff Pick -Tyringham Park by Rosemary McLoughlin

In County Cork, Ireland there lies a fabulous estate of fifty-two rooms on nineteen thousand acres of land.  It is the home of the Blackshaw family.  Many would assume that wealth and privilege would make life perfect.  However, the residents of Tyringham Park  (M) prove the old adage that ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’. family Blackshaw are a dysfunctional lot.  An older husband who is absent most of the time, a young vivacious wife who lives and breathes horses much to the detriment of her young daughters. Then of course there are the servants. The children’s nursemaids, the housekeeper, the groom… they all weave an intricate web of relationships and betrayals that will ensnare the reader.

Set between the years of  1917 and 1943, this historical family saga recounts the life of Charlotte Blackshaw. As a child she was neglected by her mother and abused by her nurse which left her in a fragile emotional state.  When she is nine years old her younger sister Victoria goes missing. The impact of this event ensures that Charlotte’s life and the life of everyone at Tyringham Park is irrevocably changed.

The narrative follows Charlotte from the age of nine to age thirty-five.  It ponders the issues of nature vs. nurture, childlessness, how responsible adults can influence the psyche of innocent children, and most importantly, how fleeting indiscretions can be life changing.

A debut novel by artist/author Rosemary McLoughlin, “Tyringham Park” will appeal to readers of “Jane Eyre” and Kate Morton’s “The Forgotten Garden”.   Fans of “Downton Abbey” and “Upstairs, Downstairs” will surely enjoy it.  As I fit all these criteria, I can honestly say it was a memorable favorite.

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