Date: July 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Thanks to Hachette NZ
Set in the 1840s when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is people by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond's n0w legendary ball, one family's life will change forever.
Belgravia begins in 1815 and then moves on to the 1840's. We have a cast of characters that was soon reminding me of those from Downton Abbey for all kinds of reasons, however the story is quite different but still entertaining!
James Trenchard is a self made man with aspirations to be among the wealthy, but more importantly to be among the 'the ton of society'. He has a beautiful daughter Sophie who is in love with a young Lord Bellasis - Edmund, and as the ball ends on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo they marry. However the Battle of Waterloo is not the only tragic event of those days and as we move back to London in the 1840's we catch up on what happened and the consequences.
Anne Trenchard is the wife of James and the mother of Sophie and Oliver. She is a down to earth, practical woman and does not have her husbands aspirations or desires to be accepted by the titled of the day. They have a lovely home, not as grand as James would like, but Anne is firm - she likes what she likes. Oliver the son is somewhat of a disappointment and does not have his father's head for business. His wife Susan has an upward eye for a climb in society, all going well! But will it!
Lady Brockenhurst - Caroline, is a Bellasis and not inclined to hobnob with the Trenchards until... events lead to chain of events that bring them closer and closer together. This is all focussed on Charles Pope - a young business man who is highly successful in the cotton industry.
So you have all the snobbery and rules of the titled aristocracy, the place of the rich business men of the wealthy middle class and of course the downstairs crew. Think of the Downton Abbey downstairs cast with those who are honest and those who are not. Belgravia is rich with a downstairs lot who have an eye to a quick buck and their own pocket so there is an amount of wheeling and dealing and plotting.
I am endeavouring not to give a way to much of the plot, so will mention no one else or anything about them. I found it an absorbing and fun read, and dramatic. Really I would have much prefered it as a movie or TV drama. I love the houses and clothes that lend such drama to a story like this. At some point I think I will give the audio version a listen as narrated well this would be perfect.
There are a number of You Tube clips that I intend exploring but here is a snippet that gives Kate Williams view of three of the characters.