Verdict: WHEN IT RAINED AT HEMBRY CASTLE is a charming, sweeping historical romance combined with an element of mystery.
A 20-year old, willful American beauty arrives at Hembry Castle with her widowed father, the second son of the 8th Earl of Straton, to begin her resistant acquaintance with Victorian-era England.
Unaccustomed to the societal expectations of England aristocracy, Miss Daphne Meriwether bristles at her grandmother’s insistence that she be presented to society and the Queen and stand by as a suitable husband is found for her, especially when she becomes enamored with Edward, the butler’s grandson. Upon Daphne’s arrival, the Meriwether family is in mourning over the passing of her grandfather, the 8th Earl of Straton, and his successor, her uncle Richard, insists on negligently attending to his duties as the 9th Earl. Reluctantly, the bright and forward-thinking Daphne and her dutiful, conscientious father Frederick stand in to handle the needs of the castle’s inhabitants, including her overbearing and prickly grandmother and the community of lower-class country folk who look to Hembry’s leading family for their livelihood. Daphne’s grandmother insists that she, her father, and her wayward uncle Richard must be suitably wed to aristocratic partners of good breeding and fortune, and this presents a challenge to the trio. Specifically, Daphne’s heart is irrevocably, immediately given to Edward, who is touted in London as the next Charles Dickens and a writer and journalist in his own name, but their future together is uncertain and seemingly impossible from the beginning.
WHEN IT RAINED AT HEMBRY CASTLE is a multi-faceted story combining elements of history, Victorian-era culture, mystery and intrigue. A well-rounded mixture of lovable, deplorable, and mysterious characters keeps the story engaging from start to finish, and masterfully orchestrated elements of intrigue ensure this is far from just another Victorian romance. Reminiscent of Downton Abbey, the story unfolds from the perspective of the aristocracy and the household staff who serve them, and is a charming mixture of humor, clashing ideals, cross-generational discord, and servants with hidden agendas. While the primary story line follows Daphne’s journey of the heart in parallel with Edward’s journey towards making his mark as a writer, a strong undercurrent of supporting plot lines ensure the story moves forward in a textured way, in a way that is a perfect marriage of mystery and clean, sweet, new adult romance. The story is exquisitely written, providing context and clear imagery of Victorian-era lifestyles and perfectly balanced descriptions of England’s countryside in a way that is as colorful as it is authentic.
WHEN IT RAINED AT HEMBRY CASTLE is a charming, sweeping historical romance combined with an element of mystery.