When I started reading the novel by Barbara Talyor Bradford, I had a hunch I can never finish it. There were two reasons:
- The Cavendon Luck is the third volume of The Cavendon Series by the author. The first two are Cavendon Hall & The Cavendon Women. But I am a genius. So, I ended up purchasing only the last (and the non-refundable) volume of the series. Why ? Read the 3rd rule in My 3 rules for picking up a book to read. I realised my mistake only after sitting with the novel a few days later.
- The novel was the last volume. So I read the ‘CHARACTERS’ page carefully. Too many characters with their intertwined relationships sketched right in the beginning overwhelmed me a bit at first. Studying the characters proved helpful for me though. (I think using a family tree structure could have been better.)
Anyway, even with the above apprehensions, The Cavendon Luck was a worthy read. The story goes back to the era of 1938-1945 when clouds of World War II were looming in the sky of Great Britain. Entire Britain along with the Inghams & the Swanns in Yorkshire were preparing themselves mentally, physically and financially to combat the Nazi troops led by Adolf Hitler. The novel touches lives of both these families whose roots exist inside and around the stately house of Cavendon Hall.
The Inghams and the Swanns, the two aristocratic families had lived in the country side of Yorkshire moors since ages. Every generation of the Swanns had served the Inghams with full respect, loyalty and dedication. A couple of times the association between these two lineages got stronger with the bond of Holy Matrimony.
The 6th Earl of Mowbray , Lord Charles Ingham got married second time to Charlotte Swann. Later Miles Ingham, the heir to the earldom born from Charles Ingham’s first marriage tied the knot with Cecily Swann, a grand-daughter of Charlotte Swann. They had three lovely kids and intended to extend their family with another new addition.
The novel grew my curiosity to find answers to certain questions.
With an upcoming war, was it really possible for Miles and Cecily (who was soon going to be out of her child bearing age) to bring one more child in the family?
Were there any other members of the two families who had mixed the blood : Ingham and Swann beyond anyone’s knowledge ?
The Earl had four daughters – Lady Diedre Ingham Drummond, Lady Daphne Ingham Stanton, Lady Delacy Ingham & Lady Dulcie Ingham Brentwood. All of them had a close knit relationship with each other and rest of the family members.
Still, did they know everything about each other?
Lady Diedre was a widow and mostly lived with her son in London. Her family knew she worked at the War Office there. But was this the complete truth ? Could her family ever know her secret ?
The impending war impacted everyone’s life in Great Britain and rest of the world. Could the Inghams and the Swanns survive the heat of World War II ? What sacrifices did they make for the war ?
Honestly, I didn’t feel for a moment that I was reading the last volume of the series. The author describes the characters well along with their desires, regrets, success and failures.
The novel also plays a good role in enlightening various aspects of life in Berlin and Britain during the war. It is a nice learning experience for someone, like me, who doesn’t have enough knowledge about the World War II. I now know more vividly :
* how the Great Britain won the World War II under the leadership of Winston Churchill.
*what role the head of German Military Intelligence, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris played in helping Britain during those dangerous years.
*the plight of Jews in Berlin, the ways they tried to escape from Hitler’s rule and the barbaric tortures inflicted upon them in gas chambers & concentration camps.
*the enormous work of the ordinary women of Britain during the war. They created The Women’s Institute(WI) and served the nation in those difficult times. Hand-made millions of jars of jam, bottling fruit & vegetables, tending to allotments where those vegetables were grown, knitting scarves, helmets, gloves for the British troops, taking care of the evacuee children under Operation Pied Piper, sending their own young boys to war – their list of sacrifice is huge.
*the participation of Royal Air Forces (RAF), Royal Navy, the civilians and help from America– all these culminated in the Victory Day in Europe on 8th May,1945.
The novel reminds me the freedom struggle that my country, India had against the same British for a century. It establishes the fact that humanity never accepts domination of any kind. Everyone gets together and fights against this odd at one point.
I would suggest the book lovers to read this novel.But do read the other volumes too.Don’t make a mistake like me 🙂