What I've Read This Week Part I . . .Spring Awakening by T.J. Brown-- Historical fiction/romance
In this third volume of the Summerset Abbey trilogy, the characters are enjoying an idyllic summer in the country. Rowena is still lost in herself. Her engagement to Sebastian has become all to real. Though she's still hurt by Jon's actions, she knows Sebastian will be a good husband and is determined to marry him. Prudence is still dealing with the challenges of wifehood. Her husband's stubborn pride may ruin everything she's worked hard for. Victoria is as determined as ever to be independent and work for a living. She most definately does not want to marry Kit, no matter how many times he asks. When England declares war on Germany, all their lives for change forever. The three women discover their passions, experience heartbreak and learn to love.
This book started weakly and read a lot like Downton Abbey fan fiction. There's an awkward attempt at seduction scene that I skipped right through. It made sense for the character at that time just not at that exact place. At first I thought I knew where the story was headed but halfway through it took a different turn and I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself NOT wanting the book to end the way I originally envisioned it. I liked the way it turned out. It was bittersweet but nicely done and I think more realistic. The plot wraps up very quickly but not very neatly. There are still some loose ends, such as the fact that the story ends in the middle of the war! I also wanted more of Elaine's story. She hints at things and claims she's never going to marry, but never explains why. She tries hard to please her mother without success but doesn't follow her cousins' leads and forge a path for herself. She deserved a plot of her own because I found her more interesting than Rowena and Prudence.
I liked the way the characters developed in this novel. At first I hated Rowena and wanted to slap her but once she has her awakening, she gets better. Prudence continued to annoy me. I wish she had just talked with Andrew instead of worrying and fretting. She tried too hard to please him and I felt like she wasn't doing herself justice. I wanted to see her awaken a bit more since the plot is called Spring Awakening. Instead she continues on the same as always. Victoria's journey is the most interesting to me. There are obvious similarities to Downton Abbey but yet there are differences. In the beginning of the novel she was naive and immature and I had mixed feelings about her. I liked her and found her innocence refreshing yet she still seemed like a little girl playing grown up. She comes of age during a difficult time and rises to the occasion admirably. I liked the way she met her challenges and faced whatever was to come. I did not like how she dealt with her romantic problems at first but it was all part of her character growth.
There are some gory hospital scenes and the aforementioned awkward scene plus hints at what Prudence and Andrew do behind closed doors. I still wouldn't hesitate to give this novel to an older teen. Adults may find it a bit too cliched in spots and not fully fleshed out enough. Still, it was the best of the trilogy and I liked it well enough to give it 3 1/2-4 stars.