Eve Williams#1. William Morrow & Company(Dec. 2013) TLC Tours
Eve Williams is about to discover just how the other half really live, in this epic and absorbing "big house" drama perfect for "Downton Abbey" fans
Above stairs, Lord Netherwood keeps his considerable fortune ticking over with the profits from his three coal mines in the vicinity. It's just as well the coal is of the highest quality, as the upkeep of Netherwood Hall, his splendid estate on the outskirts of town, does not come cheap. And that's not to mention the cost of keeping his wife and daughters in the latest fashions--and keeping the heir, the charming but feckless Tobias, out of trouble. Below stairs, Eve Williams is the wife of one of Lord Netherwood's most stalwart employees. When her ordered existence amid the terraced rows of the miners' houses is brought crashing down by the twin arrivals of tragedy and charity, Eve must look to her own self-sufficiency, and talent, to provide for her three young children. And it's then that "upstairs" and "downstairs" collide in truly dramatic fashion.
What initially grabbed my attention to read Netherwood was the description of its similarity to Downton Abbey. I don't know exactly what it is about that show but I love that we get to see both sides of the wealthy and the working class under one roof. In Netherwood you get these different points of view as well but it's very dissimilar with everything else it brings to the story. The book's central character is Eve Williams, who loses her husband in a mining accident and has to find a way to provide for herself and her three children. Among the chaos of this tragedy she finds a friend in an unexpected source. That friend helps her journey into the unknown territory of the wealthy elite in Netherwood who have troubles of their own namely their stubborn and selfish son Tobias.
So this book was so not what I was expecting but it also was in a way. It took me awhile to get used the accents the characters used. There were also some things happening towards the beginning of the story that I couldn't understand which worried me because I liked the plot so much. But, slowly but surely I got sucked into Eve's life. I feel like when her husband died, which was heart-wrenching, was the moment when I truly fell for Eve's character. Sanderson did such a great job in the build up for her husband's death. Even when I knew it was going to happen it still couldn't lessen the blow I felt for him and his family. When a book moves me that way it becomes a winner in my eyes immediately.
Eve has a strong spirit. She's described as being beautiful but she is either unaware or uncaring of what she looks like. All the guys fall for her which amused me so much. She had so many proposals that it was hilarious but it also cemented the kind of person she was. She was caring, independent, and could apparently win over anyone she met. Her cooking got her back on her feet. She was able to provide for her children in a time that without a husband that was thought to be impossible. Eve made many enemies along the way but the enemies she made weren't great people anyways. They blamed her for things that had nothing to do with her or the person's shortsightedness got in the way. I expect the drama to hit the fan in the next book. But, there were still moments of drama that kept my attention none so more than Tobias and his... ways.
Tobias likes to think he is a charmer. Eve doesn't think so of course. She sees him as he is - a selfish boy who doesn't have a care in the world. You see the way the wealthy might have viewed people in a lower class during the late nineteenth to twentieth century. The Earl of Netherwood can't quite understand why mine worker strikes happen because what can they complain about really? More frequent accidents start occurring throughout the book and I feel like this is going to be interesting when it is addressed. The Earl is actually a very nice person considering other people who employ mine workers. The bleak contrast you see between the lives of his family and the way Eve's family lives... I don't know why I expected some kind of outburst from Eve basically saying look at your lives and look at ours. Do really not see a problem with the way we live compared to the way you do? The way Eve's character was, confident and humble, just made me annoyed even more about the way Tobias acted - like he deserved everything he would inherit but with none of the responsibility. His sister, Henrietta or Henry for short, was one of the only redeeming qualities of that family. She's as spirited and freethinking as Eve was.
I want to make note of Ana - Eve's friend. The way they met each other and fell into each other lives seemed to be destined. Their friendship was one of my favorite parts of this book. They are like sisters or kindred spirits that needed to find one another. They balance each other out well. Their friendship did wonders to the story and it wouldn't have been the same without them together. I'm overly thrilled to see a relationship built on mutual respect between two women in a story like this one. In the end Netherwood is a story I usually wouldn't pick up but I'm thankful that I had the sense to ask to read it because I feel like it will broaden my reading to new adventures. I also really loved Eve as a main character and I would like to know where the sequel takes her from the last pages of this book. It's going to be amazing.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for letting me read Netherwood in exchange for an honest review!