The countdown to the US premier of Downton Abbey season 3 has begun. January 6 is practically around the corner (18 days)! I have begun to rewatch the first two seasons, which have just added to my excitement. The wait has also been eased by reading Cinders and Sapphires, the first book in a new series by Leila Rasheed.
Cinders and Sapphires (At Somerton #1) by Leila Rasheed
After nearly a decade in India, the Averley family is returning to England to take up residence in their ancestral home, Somerton. Lady Ava is aware that her father, Lord Westlake, has left his government post in disgrace, though she is not aware of the details. She is currently more concerned with her own scandalous secrets. She has fallen for a man who would make a most unsuitable match and she harbors dreams of attending Oxford. Matters are complicated further by the arrival of Lady Templeton, Lord Westlake’s new bride, and her three teenaged children. Ada is not the only one at the estate adjusting to changes and keeping secrets. While rivalries and jealousies among the ladies’ maids threaten to destroy the families they serve, one valet desperately tries to prevent the ruin of his master.
This deliciously scandalous novel offers a glimpse into the social and political environment of England as the British Empire begins its slow collapse. Rasheed successfully showcases the complex relationship between the ruling class and the people who served them. The myriad of scandals and secrets made it impossible to put this books down. Betrayals, backstabbing, and blackmail are par for the course as wealthy and poor alike scramble for power. This is an excellent series opener and I look forward to more from Somerton.
You may also enjoy Distant Wave by Suzanne Weyn, Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray and The Luxe by Anna Godberson.
This book was provided by the publisher and NetGalley.com for review.