Oooh I really loved this. *hugs book close* It's going on my favorites shelf for sure.
Simply put, a young man, Paul Craddock, is invalided out of the Boer war, inherits some money and purchases a large estate in Devonshire, 'playing squire' to the laboring families in the valley.
If you think that sounds dry, it's not. Once the characters are all introduced (which takes some time so consider yourself forewarned) the story gallops along without a lull. Aside from very absorbing family melodrama, there is madness, a grisly murder with a hay knife, a shipwreck, poaching gone wrong, suffragist action and romances aplenty.
Time covered is roughly twenty years and the characters are varied and three dimentional. I feel like I know them so personally that if I was to travel to Shallowford now, a hundred years later, there would be no "empty chairs at empty tables" but the fields would be alive, ringing with scythes and familiar laughter, the villagers I know putting down their burdens to wave or lend a hand.
Yes, I would be very sad to leave these folks but there's no need for tears yet as I've got two more books in the series to read :)
On to POST OF HONOR!
SEX: A number of non-explicit, but frank encounters, mostly behind closed doors.
VIOLENCE: One murder, a few knock outs, suffragest violence.
PROFANITY: Mild, mostly Ds
PARANORMAL ELEMENTS: One character of gypsy background reads cards to herself
MY RATING: PG-13
RECOMMENDED READING AUDIENCE: Adult