The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan
Kensington, April 24, 2012
Review copy provided by the author, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:
Orphaned at age eight, Lady Cecily Burkhart becomes the ward of Harold Pierce, Earl of Sumerton. Lord Hal and his wife, Lady Grace, welcome sweet-natured Cecily as one of their own. With Brey, their young son, Cecily develops an easy friendship. But their daughter, Mirabella, is consumed by her religious vocation—and by her devotion to Father Alec Cahill, the family priest…
Set at a fictional estate of Sumerton, Bogdan reenters the Tudor courts in a different fashion with this new novel. Fresh new characters breeze through the tyranny of King Henry VIII’s reforms, but not everyone comes away unscathed. The root of this story is as the title suggests, with women who love the Earl of Sumerton. The Earl is a sweet man, with little faults, except for his inability to break through to his alcoholic wife, Lady Grace.
And herein lies the problem with the rest of the review. If I say much about his children, and his ward Lady Cecily, I would give away intriguingly spicy plot points which would otherwise ruin the story for the potential reader. I was warned ahead of time that the synopsis alone gave away a piece of the story, and I kept my promise to myself to not read the synopsis, and I have shortened the one above.
This is a story where the Church and one’s own faith collides with that of the Kings’ and their own family; this is a story where family ties are put to the test; this is a story that offers an intriguing slice of life set against a very tumultuous time in England. The political games are the backdrop, with the religious upheaval and the reforms more at the forefront, and they effect and inspire the Sumerton women differently. I loved the characters, their flaws, and their traits, and most especially enjoyed the family drama that was the focus as opposed to simply focusing on yet another Tudor figure. There are appearances by the King, and the Queens, and Cranmer, who are there to set the historical tone. There are births, deaths, and marriages.. where betrayal, trust and loyalty are all intertwined in a fast-paced saga that I would recommend to readers who appreciate the Tudor era. I enjoy Bogdan’s writing style and always look forward to her work, (all of her Tudor books have been a delight) but I was thrilled how Bogdan channeled some V.C. Andrews for The Sumerton Women!