Yvonne's Reviews > Belgravia

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
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really liked it
bookshelves: 19th-century, victorian-england

At the Duchess of Richmond's ball, three days before the famous Battle of Waterloo, many are surprised by the presence of the Trenchard family. For James Trenchard is Wellington's supply master and in trade. While it is an important role to keep the army well supplied, it doesn't warrant an invitation to the ball. But Trenchard has a beautiful daughter, Sophia, who has caught the eye of Viscount Bellasis, the only son of Lord and Lady Brockenhurst.

Skip forward to the 1840s and the Trenchards, through a number of successful business deals, have become part of the nouveau riche and now live in the fashionable area of Belgravia. Among their neighbours are the Brockenhursts.

Mr. Trenchard, unlike his wife, is a social climber and will do anything to be accepted into society. Not a hint of scandal can be allowed to touch their family. For that reason, James and Anne Trenchard keep a secret relating to the death of their daughter in 1816.

The novel revolves around what happens when, in a moment of weakness and against her husband's wishes, Anne Trenchard reveals that secret to Lady Brockenhurst, who is still mourning the loss of her son killed at Waterloo.

I loved that we, the readers, are privy to the secret and able to enjoy the machinations of the characters as they try to discover why a certain young man, Charles Pope, has attracted the patronage of Lady Brockenhurst.

Though much lighter in tone than any Dickens novel, it still has a similar feel due to the tangle of heirs and inheritances, unsuitable matches, illicit love affairs, conniving relatives and not so loyal servants.

There is no doubt how the story will end, but there are a number of plot twists before the secret is revealed to all.

Everything that Julian Fellowes is famous for is in this novel: his attention to historical detail, his understanding of the social nuances of the time and, above all, his ability to take a simple idea and make it engrossing and delightful to the end.

Belgravia is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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Reading Progress

July 26, 2016 – Started Reading
July 26, 2016 – Shelved
August 3, 2016 – Finished Reading
August 4, 2016 – Shelved as: 19th-century
August 4, 2016 – Shelved as: victorian-england

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