'When eighteen-year-old Grace Campbell arrives in London in 1914, she's unable to fulfill her family's ambitions and find a position as an office secretary. Lying to her parents and her brother, Michael, she takes a job as a housemaid at Number 35, Park Lane, where she is quickly caught up in the lives of its pedigreed inhabitants--in particular, those of its privileged son, Edward, and daughter, Beatrice, who is recovering from a failed relationship that would have taken her away from an increasingly stifling life.
Desperate to find a new purpose, Bea joins a group of radical suffragettes and strikes up an intriguing romance with an impassioned young lawyer. Unbeknownst to Bea and Grace, the choices they make amid the rapid changes wrought by WWI will connect their chances at future happiness in dramatic and inevitable ways.'
With the onslaught of Downton Abbey-esque fiction, this title caught my eye. I can't say that this book was all that thrilling, but it would be perfect if suffering withdrawals of the hit television show. The similarities between the hit show and this book are all too canny. A mother that is American, a head-strong daughter who fights for the causes she believes in and the all-too-familiar upstairs-downstairs drama. The characters are likeable even if they feel like characters you already recognize. Nothing about this book stands out from the rest of the fiction that Downton sparked.
I think my favorite character in this book was Beatrice. She has a good head on her shoulders and wants to make a difference, however the world in which she moves prevents her from doing all that much. She soon gets mixed up in the suffragette movement and brushes shoulders with the likes of Emmeline Pankhurst. Soon thereafter, World War I arrives on Europe's doorstep and everything that everyone has known is simply thrown into chaos. Men are leaving daily to fight the war on the front and the women are stepping into the roles that are left behind. Trying to keep up with the changing world around her, Beatrice soon finds herself driving an ambulance and caring for the wounded.
If you are looking for something very similar to Downton Abbey, well this is the book for you. If you are looking for something a little different, you won't find it here. Sure, the characters are different, but the stories are pretty much the same. In the mass of fiction hitting the book world from the success of the television show, a book set in this era and along the same lines, has to be somewhat different to set it apart. I really didn't feel like this book was successful in making itself different and it just seemed to be like everything else. A very predictable read that really didn't leave me thinking all that much about it afterwards.
Overall Rating: 2.5
Title: Park Lane
Author: Frances Osborne
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Get It: Amazon; Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.