It is a beautiful day in 1917, and Tyringham Park is in an uproar after Victoria Blackshaw, an innocent toddler, disappears without a trace. The feverish search for Victoria soon uncovers jealousies and deceits that both the upstairs and downstairs inhabitants of the grand estate have fought for years to keep hidden.
As time passes, Victoria’s disappearance casts a long shadow over all of their lives. Charlotte, the Blackshaws’ less-favored eight-year-old daughter, finds herself severely impacted by the loss of her sister. Charlotte’s greatest wish is to escape the confines of the estate, but Tyringham Park and its many mysteries may never release their hold on her. Like all those at Tyringham Park, she is caught in a web of passions and secrets, trysts and betrayals that seems to ensnare everyone connected to this once great house.
REVIEW: 1917 – Tyringham Park, Ireland
Little Victoria Blackshaw, age 22 months, has been taken out for a stroll in her pram by her mother, Lady Edwina. Thinking she was sleeping, her mother left in to go to the stables. When she returned, Victoria was gone. Fearing she had wandered over to the river and drowned, everyone searched for her but she was never found.
Victoria’s older sister, Charlotte, was left to bear the brunt of her mother’s temper. Her mother felt she was ugly and could never measure up to Victoria. Charlotte’s nurse Dixon was completely hateful to Charlotte and had been the same way to Victoria. She hurt Charlotte, screamed at her and made her life miserable. Charlotte’s mother, Edwina, did not care and her father, Lord Waldron Blackshaw, spent his time at the War Office in London. The man did nothing but drink and was constantly drunk.
In the meantime, Edwina gives birth to Harcourt, son and heir.
Charlotte was left devastated at Victoria’s loss; totally ignored by her family; and mistreated by her nurse. As time passes, we see the different stages that Charlotte goes through in her life to make some meaning of it. As far as her mother is concerned, she can never do anything right. Lady Edwina is evil personified in her life-long treatment of her. As a child, Charlotte is a very accomplished horsewoman. Later on, she becomes a very talented artist.
Charlotte falls in love with Lochlann Carmody, the friend of her younger brother, Harcourt. Both young men are attending medical school to become doctors. One night, when Lochlann is partying at Tyringham with Harcourt, they get drunk and Charlotte becomes pregnant by Lochlann. Appalled at what he did, Lochlann agrees to do the right thing and marries Charlotte. They then head to Australia where Lochlann will be the physician at a small hospital in a remote area of the country.
Their marriage is not a loving one but Lochlann tries all he can. Charlotte faces difficult ordeals one of which requires Lochlann to make a very difficult decision.
This saga is an amazing story that includes both upstairs and downstairs characters. Another Downton Abbey type book. I was mesmerized as I read it and even though it was nearly 500 pages long, I did not want to see the book end. I hope readers will enjoy this novel as much as I did.
Connie for b2b