Davenport House is the first book in a family saga following the wealthy Davenports and their servants in 1915 America.
Mary Davenport is a 22-year-old idealist who worries that the world in the Progressive Era is leaving her behind. She lives isolated in the Pennsylvania countryside with her affluent and secretive family. When her father dies suddenly, Mary becomes pained with grief and increasingly suspicious of those around her.
A humble servant girl has the chance of a lifetime to become a lady’s companion. Costly dresses, exquisite rooms, and fine dinners are pleasant distractions from what is really happening in the house.
If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, there’s a good chance you will enjoy this. The pace is quite rapid, with things happening almost too quickly to keep track of at times, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with that; I personally would have preferred the pace to be a little slower, with more detail provided, but there are plenty of people who will enjoy the pace things move at.
This is not a book that will tax your brain, I guessed at a lot of what was going on before it was revealed, but I’m a fan of mystery novels and shows so guessing is a habit for me, again, though, there are numerous readers who will be okay with that.
The language is a little stilted, but that is probably to be expected of the era and the class of people involved, and the general air is one of an earlier time, but that is intended so not a problem. The characters, while not as developed as I would have liked, are a good mix of pleasant and unpleasant, as befits their position in the book; there’s enough revealed to keep you interested and invested in the story, and enough left unrevealed to make you want to read more.
This is the first book in some time I have actually enjoyed and wanted to read, I got through it in just a few days, and for that reason I’m giving it 4*, and will be picking up the other books in the series to enjoy at the next opportunity.