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Rutherford Park

(Rutherford Park #1)

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  1,022 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Snow had fallen in the night, and now the great house, standing at the head of the valley, seemed like a five-hundred-year old ship sailing in a white ocean…

For the Cavendish family, Rutherford Park is much more than a place to call home. It is a way of life marked by rigid rules and lavish rewards, governed by unspoken desires…
Lady of the house Octavia Cavendish lives li
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Berkley
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Average rating 3.39  · 
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 ·  1,022 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give this 3.5 stars which rounds up to 4.

This is your typical historical fiction novel about family drama caused by secrets. I happen to like books like this so naturally I liked this. It wasn’t the best one I ever read, but it was still good and entertaining for the most part. It took a while for the story to actually get going. What I really liked was how it took place just before World War I broke out. It captured a really interesting time in England and France.


And boy, oh boy did I fall into the trap. The dazzling cover, the promise of something akin to Downton Abbey, the lure of some sort of Austen-like scandal, defined and in-depth characters, a 'cozy read for a fire front and winter night', glowing reviews...

Yeah, this book failed at any of that. Too many trees probably died for this book.

I can't even properly review it for all its badness, because I just don't care for it one bit. Lord and Lady Cave-in-dish? Er, I mea
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
This book was just okay for me (2.5 stars, but I'll round up). I think part of the problem was that I wanted it to be Downton Abbey, and it just wasn't. I can't say that I actually liked any of the characters, so it was hard to care what was happening to them. I'm not sure if I disliked the characters because of their actions or because they were all written in a very flat way. I never got the sense that I was allowed to know the characters outside of the appearance they wanted projected to the ...more
Cleopatra  Pullen
Sep 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This historical novel set when England was right on the brink of World War I has far more depth than I initially expected, there are the expected emotional moments, but more than that, it is a book that looks at the lives of women at different levels of the social scale.

Rutherford Park is the stately pile that is the home to William and Octavia Cavendish and their three children Harry, Louisa and Charlotte and of course their entourage of servants. As the book opens on Christmas Eve 1913, we mee
Aug 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was very choppy. Several story lines were started, and then abandoned. It was an overall enjoyable read, but I wish that some promising situations had not fizzled away into nothing.

(view spoiler)
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book! There is something special in this book that really drew me to it. On the cover there is a quote that fans of Downton Abbey will love this book, and I certainly fell into that category. I was worried that the book would be lacking, or written quickly to gain on the fame of Downton Abbey, but I could't have been more wrong. This book had me laughing and in tears, it was fascinating and interesting.

Here is the Publisher's synopsis:

"Snow had fallen in the night, and now t
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It you are a fan of Downton Abbey and are jonesing for a Grantham family-like fix until season four premieres next January on PBS, Elizabeth Cooke's latest novel Rutherford Park might be just the ticket. Set during the Edwardian era at the eponymous estate in the Yorkshire countryside, the Cavendish family are as wealthy, titled, and drama-filled as the Grantham's, yet we are privileged to be reading a book, as opposed to watching a screenplay, so the author's historical detail, characterization ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I want to start out by saying thanks to Goodreads and Berkley Books for selecting me to read an ARC copy of Rutherford Park through the First-read giveaways. I regret that I did not get to reading it closer to the original publish date; however I have to say that it is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Brief summary: Rutherford Park is a timeless, lavish estate owned by Earl William Cavendish (the eighth Earl of Cavendish) and his wife Octavia, whose family money was made in the wool factories and is
Sarah Mac
The world he understood, the world he thought he knew, was blowing away like husks blown from corn in a mill. Each one of them was inside the mill, and the grindstones were rapidly turning.

This particular passage reminds me of Bob Dylan. How can you *not* hear his guitar in the background? 😶 The image also stands out in its context: this isn't tied to the hotheaded young son of the house, but rather the staid patriarch, a man locked in a role both governmental & social which carries the weight o
Colleen Turner
Rutherford Park, the elegantly rambling estate of the Cavendish family in the Yorkshire countryside of England, seems a dream to those looking at it from a distance. Money and manners nearly ooze from its well-tended walls and gardens and the family is delightfully steeped in the traditions and rules that govern those of the elitist class. But just peek a little more closely at the inhabitants of Rutherford Park and you will see that not everyone is happy in this long standing status quo and jus ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
This was a decent book to read. It shows a lot about the differences of the upstairs/downstairs relationships of the English in the early 1900's. I really wanted to like this book more than I did though. I felt that there were too many POV's. Many characters had a section to have a say as to what was going on. In a way this was good because you had the chance to understand how a servant & the aristocrat saw/handled things differently. However, there were too many that I couldn't get myself inves ...more
Mary Durrant
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book that depicts the lives within a country house on the cusp of a new age.
Cars are beginning to make an appearance and WW1 is looming with the young son who has ambitions of being a pilot.
It starts on a snowy Christmas Eve 1913.
One of the maids Emily is in trouble which has devastating results.
How the family married for money to improve the estate, a tale of class and manners.
If you like Downton Abbey you'll love this, I couldn't put it down!
Sep 12, 2016 added it
Shelves: abandoned
I gave up at chapter 4. This is a silly badly written book.
Feb 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars. Rutherford Park -- the Yorkshire seat of the Cavendish family -- is a bastion of English tradition and respectability. But its historic halls shelter dangerous secrets and passions both upstairs and down, a simmering vein of tension that belies the family's respectable exterior. The dawning of 1914 and the promise of Christmas and New Year's finds certain members of the family and household staff in a reflective mood, hungry for a change that they cannot define, the scope and impact o ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
The book starts in 1913 England countryside, so knowing history and what will occur shortly in Europe, I was excited to read this book. And I love the country estate theme, with so many servants who dust and polish silver. Cooke is a good author and weaves a good story of the Cavendish family. I enjoyed the book and look forward to locating more of this author's work.

I looked for this book in the library after reading her latest book which I won on Goodreads. While she has written a number of b
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mcfl, e-books, 2017
I was reading through a few books inspired by, or similar to Downton Abbey when I came upon Rutherford Park. I wasn't expecting much because the previous novels were definitely of the derivative kind. But from the first chapter on, I knew Rutherford Park was going to be different. It was excellent through and through, often surprising me with where it was going and how the author chose to portray the characters. They are fully fleshed out and more complex than I had expected. As good as Downton ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. The first part was a little slow and then it got more interesting as it went on. Octavia was my favorite character...what a transformation! This is one that may appeal to fans of Downton Abbey...which I happen to be :)
Mar 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewedreads
Been a while since I've been so angry with a book that sounded so promising for wasting my time like this. Absolute rubbish. ...more
May 31, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
An aristocratic English family lives a soap opera life on the eve of WWI. Very much in the tradition of Downton Abbey but not as good. The novel had a fast start, but then seemed to plod along until the last 60 or so pages. This is the first part of a trilogy. Until I got to the last part, I was not inclined to read the others in the series, but now am not so sure.
Andrea at Reading Lark
Review Posted on Reading Lark 8/19/13:

I suppose I need to start this review by saying I have not watched Downton Abbey and know very little about England in the early 1900's. I decided to read this one when it was offered to me as a way to experience a new time period. My only experience with the early 1900's is learning about the Titanic and WWI. For whatever reason, beyond those two events, the early 1900's didn't interest me. I'm always on the lookout
Chelsey Wolford
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Are you missing Downton Abbey? I know I am! If your answer to that question was the same as mine then you definitely need to pick up a copy of this book! Rutherford Park was blurbed by more than one source to be reminiscent of all things Downton. After finishing the book, I would have to say that I most definitely agree. The social classes, new money, old money, social issues, and the whole nine yards were huge topics for discussion in this book just like the television series. The story follows ...more
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Comparisons to Downton Abbey are inevitable here, aren't they?

What sets this apart, though, is that there's more room for slightly less savoury characters to have their way. Servants do things they shouldn't, and get away with it. They family members do things they shouldn't, and get away with it, one way or another.

The back of the book is a bit disingenuous, as Mary's secret is not the one that threatens to split the family apart -- but there are certainly secrets aplenty. I did wish that some
Edwardian Reviews
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully Written, Vivid and Picturesque: Elizabeth Cooke proves she is a master of "showing, not telling." Each page is full of breathtaking description which makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. Her ability to weave and craft different story lines is impeccable. You feel truly invested in each character and not a single character falls short of development.

Intriguing Character Development: Each character has their own qualities and characteristics which makes them different an
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"Rutherford Park" reminded me very much of Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs. It follows the comings and goings of those that live and work in the grand estate house of Rutherford Park. It's an interesting slice of life kind of book that will appeal to historical fiction lovers who want a wide variety of characters to read about.

The list of characters was a little overwhelming to me. Almost every chapter focuses on a different character's interactions with the other characters in the book.
DJ Sakata
Jul 03, 2013 rated it liked it
I received a free copy of Elizabeth Cooke's historical novel Rutherford Park as a Goodreads first reader. The writing was first rate, but the ending left me feeling dissatisfied, which is also most likely how the heroine was feeling at that point. If you need a happy ending with everything tied up neatly at the end, this story is not for you. Not an easy breezy read as there is a staggering amount of characters and points of view. The old British vernacular was entirely unfamiliar to me and I wa ...more
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a riveting book—well written, surprising twists and turns, interesting characters, realistic dialogue. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing is really gorgeous and perceptive. The author doesn't reveal everything to her readers; she lets them figure it out for themselves. Readers have to work to read this book--you aren't handed everything and told what to think. You are given bits and pieces here and there, and it's up to you to put it all together. Also, the characters are not black or ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
An intriguing look into the life of British aristocrats and those who serve them. How the differences started to become blurred with the changing times of war and life.
Jul 03, 2013 marked it as to-read

Okay, I admit it. This is a clear case of cover lust :-).
Jul 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Not bad but not Downton Abbey!
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars. This is a fantastic read. It truly enthralls you just like Downton Abbey. The plot twists are totally believable and the writing is superbly executed. I LOVED it!!
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See also Elizabeth McGregor and Holly Fox.

Elizabeth Cooke lives in Dorset in southern England and is the author of fourteen novels, many of which she wrote under the pseudonym Elizabeth McGregor, as well as a work of nonfiction, The Damnation of John Donellan: A Mysterious Case of Death and Scandal in Georgian England. Acclaimed for her vivid, emotionally powerful storytelling and rigorous histori

Other books in the series

Rutherford Park (3 books)
  • The Wild Dark Flowers (Rutherford Park #2)
  • The Gates of Rutherford (Rutherford Park #3)

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