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Publisher's Summary

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author comes an epic saga of intrigue and mystique set in Edwardian England. Cavendon Hall is home to two families, the aristocratic Inghams and the Swanns who serve them. Charles Ingham, the sixth Earl of Mowbray, lives there with his wife Felicity and their six children. Walter Swann, the premier male of the Swann family, is valet to the earl.

His wife Alice, a clever seamstress who is in charge of the countess's wardrobe, also makes clothes for the four daughters. For centuries, these two families have lived side-by-side, beneath the backdrop of the imposing Yorkshire manor. Lady Daphne, the most beautiful of the Earl’s daughters, is about to be presented at court when a devastating event changes her life and threatens the Ingham name.

With World War I looming, both families will find themselves tested in ways they never thought possible. Loyalties will be challenged and betrayals will be set into motion. In this time of uncertainty, one thing is sure: these two families will never be the same again. Cavendon Hall is Barbara Taylor Bradford at her very best, and its sweeping story of secrets, love, honor, and betrayal will have listeners riveted up to the very last word.

©2014 Beaji Enterprises (P)2014 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    108
  • 4 Stars
    75
  • 3 Stars
    50
  • 2 Stars
    13
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    14

Performance

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    123
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    70
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    30
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    11
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    6

Story

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    48
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Sticky Sweet and Shallow

This book was written in a fairytale semi-historic way that is so without depth that the individual characters can be summed up in the author's few words. Once these words are introduced, they are used ad nauseam. For aristocratic Ingham women:
"lovely, kind, so gentle and caring", frosted with sweetness and aching heart's. (Who must pass the time of day thinking only of ballgowns.)
Then the aristocratic men:
"Devoted, entranced, so brave, so noble." This goo is topped with variations of:
"What ever is wrong, my dear, lovely wife?" Often altered "my dear girl" or my personal favorite, "What ever can it be, my dear love?"
In fairness, the last quote is altered to fit both genders, in all strata of society.
If that weren't enough, the servants of the aristocrats – in this case the "Swann Family" are cursed with their own never ending phrases and heart aches. Though not nearly as pervasive as the aristocratic Ingham's. If I could run a word program choosing these words, and sickly sweet phrases, it might read in the hundreds.
If you don't mind being bombarded with "My dear's" and characters whose lives center on the next ball or frock, you might enjoy it. Otherwise, run! You will never get those hours back.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Ending left surprising questions unanswered...

Predictable without resolution of most intriguing plot line. Have never read this author before so perhaps this is just a set up for a sequel. I'm not that interested in any of the characters to spend my time on another book by this auther

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Ending was not what I was expecting :(

I thought the performance was great but didn't like the ending at all. Very disappointed

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Could NOT finish....

Downton Abbey it is NOT, even if it wants to be. Here the servants tell the nobility how to solve their problems.
The narrator is good, until she tries to portray the different characters. Her attempt at different accents, is comical & annoying. (This book is not supposed to be a comedy)
I blame the publishers & recording companies who release such mediocre works. The audio listener deserves better.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

boring :(

If you want a boring and predictable book when almost nothing happens and people are always exeedingly polite and understanding (while wearing beautiful clothes), then this is the book for you. BTB is Mom's favorite author, and her early books - about Emma Heart - are really good. But Cavendon Hall made me complain out loud: "oh, come on! let's have something HAPPEN!!! it's booooring!". Downton Abbey meets Nora Roberts.

8 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Novel reads as a FIRST draft....

It needs editing to cut out all the repetitions and cliches in the text and the many many scenes where nothing happens, not to mention all the over-descriptions of people settling themselves before a character makes speeches. This novel lacks focus. It drifts like a Yorkshire mist, it slides from one character to another, superficial, colorless, bland.

What a disappointment! St Martin’s Press should be ashamed of letting such a shoddy product out for people to actually spend money on. They’ve only served to besmirch this talented author’s name.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Downton Revisited

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

For people longing for a return to Downton Abby, here is Bradford's version. And just like DA, it is full of cliches, corny dialogue and pompous aristocrats and subservient servants. But unlike DA, you can't just absorb the beautiful production. Nothing to 'see' here to distract you from the lack of ACTION. I understand this is the start of a series of novels, but this should stand on its own. Other than one malicious act, NOTHING really happens. The most potentially interesting characters (Deidre and Felicity) have nothing to do. In this type of melodrama, a good villain is a must. The villain here does his nasty deed and disappears for chapters at a time. We don't know anything about him or his motivations. When he does return, there is nothing hiss-able about him and then, POOF, he's gone. Instead everyone else is perfect and beautiful and rich, but above all moral with a capital M. The Inghams are dull, dull, dull and the Swans, with their 'vow' are toadies.

Has Cavendon Hall turned you off from other books in this genre?

Nope. I love historical novels. Even bad ones!

What aspect of Anna Bentinck’s performance would you have changed?

She REALLY needs to practice her male characters! Most of their voices border on CARTOONISH.

Did Cavendon Hall inspire you to do anything?

Re-read Evelyn Waugh!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Barbara Taylor Bradford of 40 years ago - What happened?

This was such a disappointment, I’d not read anything by Barbara Taylor Bradford in many years and this book wasn’t up to par with her earliest writings. The story was predictable, the characters were weak, and last but not least the narrator wasn’t believable.
It wasn’t worth my time or money!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Truly distracting and enchanting!

Through the chaos of today, find solace, become refreshed, gain strength to move forward! Heartfelt love and commitment can prevail!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kathleen
  • Glorieta, NM, United States
  • 09-20-16

If you watched Downton Abbey, you know this book

Any additional comments?

I like Barbara Taylor Bradford and have always enjoyed her books, but as I read this book, I could not help but think back to Downton Abbey and how many of the story lines in Downton were in Cavendon House. I finished the book, but not sure if I will continue the series.