The Ravenscar Dynasty
In 1904 a fire in a hotel in Carrarra, Italy takes the lives of brothers Richard and Rick Deravenel and one teenage offspring of each. A family relative, Neville Watkins, informs Richard's wife, Cecily, and their eighteen-year-old son, Edward, of the tragic deaths of their loved ones. He also uniforms his cousin that he believes the four men, who were in Carrarra on business, were murdered to hide questionable problems involving marble quarries. Edward and Neville agree to conceal their suspicions from Cecily while agreeing to unearth the truth and to take control of the Deravenel business interests before the predators from the other side of family, like their cousin Henry Grant, come scooping in to pick apart the bones. Both men believe Henry caused the tragedy in order to gain control of the business, like his grandfather did six decades ago. Over the next few years, Edward keeps Jane Shaw as his mistress while he marries a widow, Elizabeth Wyland. His wife demands Edward take charge of the family business, even if that means ending his partnership with Neville. At the same time, she wants him to also end his alliance with that "chit" he maintains. As hostilities grow heated and angrier on the continent, war between two alliances seems imminent. England appears heading into combat at a time when a traitor within the family plans to use a disaster to jeopardize the business. Barbara Taylor Bradford's fans will treasure this strong pre-WWI English family saga. The Ravenscar Dynasty is a wonderful, historical tale starring a strong cast, especially the major male and female players from the Yorkshire and Lancaster branches (though the former dominate much of the plot). Elizabeth's shrills and demands can become irritating, but readers who appreciate deep, early twentieth century epics will enjoy the Queen of these dynasties even without warring roses or one Hart.