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The Family Mansion

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The Family Mansion tells the story of Hartley Fudges, whose personal destiny unfolds against the backdrop of nineteenth-century British culture, a time when English society was based upon the strictest subordination and stratification of the classes. Hartley's decision to migrate to Jamaica at the age of twenty-three seems sensible at first: in the early 1800s Jamaica was ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Akashic Books
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3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  127 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
It is the late 1800's and Henry Fudges has a problem. He is a second son, raised as a gentleman, but unable to inherit the family estate, money or the dukedom. His options are the clergy, the British armed forces, marriage to a widow, which he tries but is rejected, or to take his chances by trying to make his fortune in one of the colonies that Britain holds. Which brings him to Jamaica, an experience that will change his life.

Where has this author been all my life? He is witty, I was reading
Anthony C. Winkler can do no wrong, this much is clear.
For 2018 I decided to read a lot more Caribbean Authors, so in my first Library haul for the year I decided to pick up one of the few Winkler books I have never read- "The Family Mansion". Having read most of Winkler's books this one was totally left field for me, but it maintains the one thing that is evident in all of Winkler's book- it was hella funny.
The book was set in the 1800s and follows the life of Henry Fudges, born the second so
Rob Slaven
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As is usual, I received this book for free through the kind consideration of a GoodReads giveaway. Despite this kindness, I'll give my candid opinions below.

Our protagonist is the second son of an English aristocrat. The inheritance laws of the day state clearly that as second-born, when his father the Duke dies, he won't get so much as a farthing. It is from this position of impending penniless that our hero approaches his life. After a brief and unsuccessful attempt to wrestle the estate from
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Insightful view into the British Empire's exploitation of its colonies. This one, the island of Jamaica, early 1800's - sugar cane plantations worked by slaves bring enormous profits to absentee landlords. A shameful history, of course, yet written with surprising tenderness and ironic humor.
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Family Mansion by Anthony C. Winkler is a witty, funny and a bit bawdy historical fiction trip from London in 1805 to Jamaica and return. I am amazed at the author’s Jamaican charm and daring. He takes what could be turned into a boring treatise to a book that is very difficult to put it down.

From Mr. Winkler’s description of the smells and dangers of wandering under the windows and the two man rickshaws of the time, you really do feel like you are in London and you would probably want to le
Patrick Edmondson
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Anthony C. Winkler is a master novelist. Totally drawn into a novel examining the historic truths of Jamaica. The unexpected twists as the main character moves through the customs of English society that forces him to Jamaica through the strangely English primogenitor laws. Winkler examines what is freedom and what makes one a slave. The humor reminds me so of Evelyn Waugh with a Jamrock touch.
The author of this book was born in Jamaica and set his novel there. It takes place in the early 1800s when a 2nd son of a minor British duke, Hartley Fudges, is sent off to find a life since he cannot inherit his father's estate, the family mansion. The book is full of description - first of a duel that goes wrong, then a sea voyage, and finally the particulars of life on the island. Unfortunately the plot and characters are not as well done. The story is told from the point of view of an omnis ...more
Dec 05, 2012 added it
Shelves: 2013
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May 08, 2013 rated it liked it
We first meet Hartley Fudges, the main character, in England, where he bemoans his bad luck at being the second (and non inheriting) son of a wealthy aristocrat. Since he will not inherit anything from his father due to England’s primogeniture laws, his options for the future are limited-marry for wealth, join the clergy, or head to the colonies to make a living. After some very bad choices, Hartley does head out – to work at a sugar plantation in Jamaica. Once there, he immediately falls ill wi ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In 19th century England, the aristocracy were compelled to follow primogeniture laws, where first born sons inherited all the family wealth and second or subsequent born sons were left to find other means to scrape out a living without family financial support. Despite this, these sons were still expected to uphold social morals and values. Many travelled to the colonies to start new lives.

In the novel, THE FAMILY MANSION, second born son, Hartley Fudges, is faced with the dilemma of how to sup
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Although I don't think that this is a really great novel, I really enjoyed it. It felt quite different from the usual, sweeping historical fiction novels to which I've become accustom. This one is a bit slick and quick with a hesitant and distant finish - a quick read. However, it has a really fascinating, albeit slightly vacuous and unlikable, main character and the whole story works so well around this strange guy. I really wanted to see what was going to happen to him and what choices would h ...more
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the top books I've read all year and it was quite a surprise too. The library I go to has a section with new books and I randomly picked it up on a whim. The main character is such an entitled ass but the author does a good job making you want to root for him anyway. (Think almost a 19th century Kenny Powers kind of person) It's the story of a man booted from England because he is the 2nd born son and what happens to him when he sets sail to Jamaica to work on a sugar plantation. ...more
Feb 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Winkler's novel is a history lesson about Jamaica in the early 1800's. Second sons of British estates are is particularly hard straits. They have no inheritance and very few options at home in England. In this biting satire, "Fudges" fails to assassinate the eldest son and is sent to Jamaica to make his way in the world. Interlaced with bawdy humor and extremely violent scenes of slavery, the story unfolds the history of Jamaica and the English sugar plantations. The Story ends with the end of s ...more
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
The Family Mansion is a historical novel set in the early 19th century. Vividly depicting life for the young British aristocrat, Hartley Fudges, both as the non-inheriting (yet favorite) second son and as an exiled land overseer on a sugar cane plantation.

From the grimy, yet beloved streets of London, filled with blindly followed (and sometimes nonsensical) traditions to the slavery based, fear driven tropical land of early colonial Jamaica, Winkler weaves a story that captures the reader instan
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
This book is one for the history...buffs! Not my cup of tea which is why I gave it a three star but definitely something worth trying. This book was completely out of my comfort zone but even so I enjoyed it. Thank you to Goodreads for giving me this book! One thing I can't get over, which seems quite silly, is the book pages itself. It's the type of page where the ends are purposely roughed up to feel really soft. Absolutely awesome and actually does add appeal to the overall aesthetic appeal o ...more
Apr 08, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting novel with a history lesson. I think I enjoyed the history part of it more than the actual book overall. The author certainly does a good job of making the main character initially seem like a pompous ass with his vocabulary and thought process. I also rather liked the rough edged pages of the book-somehow this added to the book for me.

*I received this book through a giveaway here on Goodreads.
Betsy Hover
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was delighted to receive this book from Goodread Giveaways!

I was totally impressed with how the author Anthony Winkler was able to capture such a delicate subject and turn it into such fantastic read. His ability to capture the essence of this historical period of time and bring to life this character of Hartley Fudges produced a wonderful book to read.

I would totally recommend this book to read for anyone that loves to read Historical Fiction.
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from Goodreads. I thought it was fabulous! The story is a lightly satiric, yet indepth look at early nineteenth century British life (primarily the right of primogeniture, problems with being the second son, British aristocratic manners, and dueling), both in England and Jamaica. Lots of background is provided to refresh or educate the reader.
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Winkler fills this book with dark humor and interesting factoids about 19th century life in England and Jamaica. It doesn't pull any punches about the brutality of life on sugar plantations so may not be for the faint of heart. What it also does though, is shed light on the craziness of thinking one race of human is better than another. All in all a great book.
Apr 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I found this book to be a quick read and informative about Jamaica. Historical fiction can add a lot to a person's knowledge. I enjoyed this book and would like to read more by Anthony Winkler. It had a provocative story line and made me want to learn more about the history of Jamaica. That is what good historical fiction should do.
Dec 23, 2013 rated it liked it
A historical (and at times funny) novel of an English second son who goes to Jamaica to work on a plantation in the early 19th century. It's good, but not great, and I would recommend it. I also learned quite a bit about the history of the sugar plantations in Jamaica.
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this book via Goodreads giveaway. The setting is early 19th century and Winkler provides a good amount of history and custom of the time in Jamaica. While I found the book interesting and informative, it was just not my cup of tea. I was confused at times by the humor.
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
My lower rating is mainly based on personal preference in books. I enjoyed the history that went along with the book, and it was a well written story, but I didn't appreciate the humor used. More of something that's just not my style.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Light hearted /almost bro-ish tone was initially annoying but grew on me. Interesting discussion of slavery/class relations. A rather bad ending but a better ending would have required the book to be substantially longer.
May 27, 2013 added it
Don't bother with this book. After the second page, I returned it to the library. Vulgarity is not my forte.
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Took forever for something to happening, and the ending left me nonplused
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
If only most of the wit weren't exhausted on page 3.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 for me. Stephen liked it too. Discussion of slavery in Jamaica, and the insanities of the system.
Very funny. Might look at more from this author.
Juliahoney Kamenker
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
very different stor with lots of historical fact makes you feel like you were there
Wendy Leatherman
Jul 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Tried to read and just couldn't connect. The characters were gross and heartless.
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Anthony C. Winkler was a successful Jamaican novelist and popular contributor to many post-secondary English literary texts.

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