Cover Image: House of Trelawney

House of Trelawney

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Member Reviews

This one is a tricky book to review - it took forever to get into it, something about the first few pages just didn't grab me & I had to try again & again
Once in, it's one of those books that you want to like but somehow it just missed the mark for me - there wasn't really enough happening & I didn't engage with the characters. I really wanted to enjoy it but sadly didn't
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Trelawney Castle is a beloved millstone round the neck of its owners, inhabitants, and former residents, the three generations of the impoverished aristocratic Trelawney family. I really enjoyed this satirical look at a family clinging too hard to the past and those desperate to snatch it away from them.
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I’m afraid I found this book a bit of a disappointment. I’d really enjoyed the Improbability of Love, but this just didn’t ever find its feet. I sort of felt it didn’t ever get going and I didn’t really care about any of the characters. 

It just felt a bit flat, I’m afraid. I did finish it and it did get better as it went on. 

I’m sure it’ll do very well, but for me it just didn’t quite work.
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I so wanted to love this book, but it didn't meet my expectations in the end.
What a great idea for a book, but I disliked every single character in the novel. Hannah Rothschild has a great writing style and j do like her descriptions of buildings, rooms and atmosphere. For me personally to be a good read, I need at least one connection with a character. It certainly made for an interesting dynamic between the women in the story, but not what I enjoy.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an eARC.
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Thank you for the opportunity to review this book! 

House of Trelawney was unfortunately not what I was expecting - a wealthy family losing it all, unlikable characters being forced to live in unexpected circumstances, and a general satirical take on class - I should have loved it.

Instead I was treat to a reasonably fine story, with little happening along the way, and a host of unlikable two-dimensional characters with nothing interesting or redeeming about them. 

It was very fine, and I can definitely understand why some people loved it! I think I was just expecting something different from the story.
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Great book. Well written and plot flows beautifully well.
Thank you to both NetGalley and publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my review
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I struggled through a lot of this, but ultimately just found that the characters rubbed me the wrong way entirely. I found little that was redeeming about them, and that made the experience of reading this a difficult one. The story also was just a bit dull. Not one for me, unfortunately!
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This would've been a DNF at 12% if it wasn't an ARC but it did get better and redeemed itself later in the novel. 

The start was very much a poor little rich family loses money but is still living in their castle.

The characters weren't relatable or particularly likeable. My favourite characters were Blaze and Aunt Tuffy.

It is set during the banker crash of 2008 and that is the main theme in the book.
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House of Trelawney is the new book from Hannah Rosthchild, author of The Improbability of Love. Set against the financial crash of 2008, the book sets the fall of the aristocratic family of Trelawney against the fall of the banks and the old financial institutions. At the centre are Jane, Blaze and Anastasia, once three best friends but drifted apart and now live very different lives.  Brought back together by a sequence of difficult events, and a new family member, their lives will change and they will find each other, love and their vocation in life. The perfect mix of drama, romance and humour set against the crumbling House of Trewlaney, make this a joyous and entertaining read.

Reading the House of Trelawney reminded me in some way of the great British sit com The Good Life. The Trewlaney family have lived on their land, and in their castle for over  eight hundred years, but now it is falling to wrack and ruin due to lack of funds. Kitto is the current Viscout, married to Jane but their is nothing aristocratic about their lives apart from the titles. Jane spends her days trying one hundred dishes with mince, putting buckets under the leeks in the roof and carry hot water to her parents in law’s rooms. Clarissa, the Dowager Countess still gets dressed for dinner, believes they still have servants and is ever critical. She still lives in the past, the days of grandeur and parties, and adds some wonderful humorous moments to the book; she reminisces about royalty whilst Jane is chasing a horse and falling in the mud. Add to that a mad old aunt, who prefers the company of mice and fleas to humans, three teenagers  and you have an eccentric and memorable cast of characters.

Blaze was Jane’s best friend, and sister to Kitto, but hasn’t spoken to her family for twenty years. She has no idea how far they have fallen, the state of the castle of the lack of money. She is now a successful business women with millions in the bank, but ironically no one to share it with. That is until their other best friend sends her daughter, Aleysha, to live with her.   This is the catalyst for both Blaze and Jane, it brings old family arguments to the fore, but also brings both women closer. To say all three are different is an understatement, they all seem to want what the other has; a family, a castle, and money. Ultimately, it is the women in this story that come out on top, their resilience, adaptability and strength in the face of adversity.

Hannah Rothschild has a wonderful way with words, bringing the characters to life but also bringing humour to some difficult situations. She makes the castle a character in itself, old, out of date, crumbling, leaking but ultimately still standing like a grand old lady, maybe a shadow of the British institution at that time. She perfectly captures the atmosphere and feeling of the financial crash of 2008, how it effected people, people who had invested for their pensions, and the resentment that caused. This fall of the banks, mirrors the fall of the Trelawney family and the need for a new establishment and change in the way things were run.

House of Trelawney is a wonderfully entertaining satire of a dysfunctional, but loveable family. If you are a fan of Jilly Cooper, like me, you will love this book, it has the same humour, sarcasm and fabulous characters, including the animals.  This book made me laugh and smile and it was such a joy to read, I’m sure it is going to be on the bestseller list.
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This was an interesting novel; it took me a while to get into it, but then I started to get get it. There were some features I did find annoying - how come so many characters, about whom we were told were really intelligent, had a common sense bypass? Also a number of other characters just disappeared for huge parts of the book, clearly the novel would have been epic (and probably quite boring) if we had followed everyone all the time, but even so! Most of the cast were generally reasonable, although Blaze needed a stern talking to, the baddie was a bit of a cut out pantomime villain and one of the plot twists was quite easy to guess. Would I read it again - no, would I read a sequel - yes. However, since I expect the author won't have sorted out Blaze, I may regret that decision.
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This book is garnering rave reviews and I can see why. It’s funny, lively, and completely evokes the crumbling castle desperate family situation of its setting. Having said that, I didn’t read beyond the first 100 pages. It’s too dependent on cliche in characters and setting, and the rambling viewpoints are a particular bete noir of mine. Entertaining book, just not to my taste.
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The Trelawney's and Trelawney Castle have been part of the British aristocratic scene for over 800 years, but their fortunes have been in a decline for many years. This is the story of a divided family with secrets, stuck in outdated traditions trying to hang on to a Castle and life that they can't afford.
The financial crash of 2008 brings everything to a head for the family and the arrival of Ayesha and Thomlinson Sleet in their lives opens old wounds & secrets.
The characters Hannah Rothschild creates are all flawed in some way or other but it is the women of Trelawney who bring most to the story, each in their own individual way.
However, the story leaves many unanswered questions at the end.
I was given a copy of House of Trelawney by NetGalley and the publishers in return for an unbiased review.
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Fellow Downton Abbey fans, have you ever wondered how the Crawley family would live in modern times? (If you aren’t familiar with Downton Abbey – it is about an aristocratic family in England in the early 20th century) Times have certainly changed between the early 20th century and the early 21st century, and House of Trelawney chronicles how these changes have impacted an aristocratic family in Cotswolds. While it is not in any way related to Downton Abbey, there are some parallels between the Scott family in House of Trelawney and the Crawley family in Downton Abbey. Primarily, they are both wealthy, aristocratic families that are firmly rooted in tradition.

An Earl of Trelawney has lived in the fictional Trelawney castle in Cornwall for more than seven hundred years. The castle formerly employed hundreds of people in the area, and the family hosted lavish parties which drew visitors from around the country. It was a noble, respectable family. However, the family has not faired well in recent decades, and money is running out. The castle is crumbling to pieces, and the family can no longer afford crucial repairs, oil, or heating, and they get by on measly rations of food. Nature is, quite literally, taking over the house.

Similar to Downton Abbey, House of Trelawney is quite slow to start. However, once I got into it, I was fascinated. And yet, by the last third of the book my attention started to fade – another similarity to Downton Abbey! This book is less than four hundred pages, but it feels so much longer because of the scope that is covered. Having read Hannah Rothschild’s previous book The Improbability of Love, I am keenly aware of her ability to build an expansive fictional world within a few hundred pages. She can not be accused of neglecting to provide any details. If you are not a fan of slow-moving, richly detailed stories, then House of Trelawney is likely not the book for you.

While I am in awe of Rothschild’s story building skills, I grew tired of the narrative in House of Trelawney because I could not stand any of the characters. Each and every character, and trust me there are a lot of characters in this book, is deeply flawed. The author was clearly trying to make a point with these flawed characters, so I did not mind the fact they were flawed per se; instead, the issue for me was they were not at all realistic. They were the definition of caricatures. I think this book could have been much more powerful if there were fewer characters, and if the ones included actually felt a bit more like real human beings, instead of being walking, talking stereotypes.

Another issue I had with this book is the number of logistical inconsistencies. House of Trelawney is set between 2008 and 2010, during the economic crash and recession. One of the characters works as an investment banker in London, and some chapters go into the financial situation during this time period quite extensively. Some of these scenes did not work for me at all, partially due to the fact that the language used did not sound realistic. I know a bit about finance and I was baffled by some of the language, so I can imagine that some readers could find this really off-putting. Another issued I had was that there were several instances where characters discussed Apple as though it were a small start-up that no one had ever heard of. At this point in history Apple had already launched two iPhone models, and was well-known for the iPod and laptops/computers. Speaking about Apple as though it was an un-heard of technology start-up in this time period makes no logical sense. This really irritated me.

Despite these issues, House of Trelawney is not at all a bad book. I feel that I should emphasise that Rothschild is a brilliant writer, and House of Trelawney is impressive from that point of view. I wanted to give this book a four star rating, but I felt that I couldn’t because of the issues with the characters and inconsistencies. Based on The Improbability of Love, I know that Rothschild can do better.

That being said, I think you will like this book if:

You are a fan of Downton Abbey
You tend to enjoy richly detailed books about flawed families
You are interested in aristocratic families in England
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The Truth And The Trelawneys....
The Trelawneys - an aristocratic family of long history. Their home - the magnificent Trelawney Castle. The truth- the family have fallen on hard times brought about by excessive spending and high living and generally doing little else. This is their story. A hugely engrossing and entertaining read combining family drama, social satire, a wealth of well drawn and thoroughly engaging characters and much lightheartedness. Rather perfect.
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My thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing U.K. for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘House Trelawney’ by Hannah Rothschild in exchange for an honest review.

“A dazzling comedy of manners about old money, new money and no money ..”

I adored Hannah Rothschild’s debut novel, ‘The Improbability of Love’. It was my favourite read of 2016. So I was delighted to discover that she had written a second novel. Like its predecessor ‘House Trelawney’ is a charming novel that could be seen as fluff but quickly reveals its depths. 

It was published on 6 February and knowing how much I had appreciated her first novel, I elected to buy its audiobook edition, narrated by Elaine Claxton, to listen alongside reading the eARC. 

Trelawney Castle, overlooking the South Cornish sea, has been the home of the Earls of Trelawney since their ennoblement in 1179. Through the centuries they have used their wealth and stealth to stay on the winning side of history. 

Yet now in the summer of 2008, the castle is crumbling around the family’s ears and is in need of millions of pounds of renovations. Its lands are diminished, furniture and paintings sold off, and staff let go. 

Jane, the downtrodden daughter-in-law of the elderly 24th Earl, is reduced to trying to feed her children and in-laws on next to nothing. The Earl and Countess are seeing out their days acting as if they were still living in splendour, calling for non existent servants, and dressing for dinner in inappropriate formal wear. 

Jane’s feckless husband, Kitto, is heir to the Earldom and Chairman of Acorn Bank, a small West Country institution. Ten years ago his father had handed over the running of the Trelawney estate to Kitto, who discovered there was no money and few assets. He is hoping to restore the family fortunes through a series of risky investments. 

His estranged sister, Blaze, works in finance and is considered a leading stock picker in the City. Yet for the past year she’s been seeing worrying trends and her intuition is that an international crises is imminent. Yet her warnings are falling on deaf ears. 

Jane and Blaze were close friends while at Oxford university and Jane went on to marry Kitto. In the opening pages the third member of their tight circle, Anastasia, contacts Jane after twenty years absence with news that she is dying. She begs Jane to provide a home to her daughter, Ayesha, as after her husband, a Maharajah, died his heir had banished his stepmother and Ayesha from the palace. Anastasia had been a great beauty who had left many broken hearts in her wake before her move to India.

The eventual arrival of 19-year old Ayesha proves to be a catalyst for all kinds of change as does the events of October 2008 as Blaze’s worse fears come true. 

So yes, ‘House Trelawney’ is a gentle satire about the fortunes of a family of downtrodden aristocrats but I felt that it also effectively explores the devastation created by the global financial crises as well as the bonds of family and friendship and, of course, of historic and contemporary privilege.

There are many fantastic one-liners and a large cast of eccentric characters. I quickly became very fond of workaholic Blaze as well as Aunt Tuffy, who quietly gets on with her research into the effects of climate change on insects in her tumbledown cottage on the Trelawney estate. Of all though, the Dowager Countess, Clarissa, was a comic creation to rival any that I have encountered.

There is also a villain in the form of ruthless American multibillionaire Thomlinson Sleet, another Oxford alumni and rejected suitor of Anastasia, with a long held grudge against House Trelawney for a perceived slight while at university.  

Overall, I loved this novel from start to finish. It was very entertaining as well as heartwarming. When reviewing ‘Improbabilty’ I described it as Dickensian, whereas I found ‘House Trelawney’ was a comedy of manners in the tradition of Jane Austen. I will be recommending it widely and enthusiastically.
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I'm afraid I gave up on this book at 15%. When I saw the words 'comedy of manners' I was expecting either something almost Blandings-esque - an amusing story of bumbling aristocrats getting into scrapes - or something akin to Diary of a Provincial Lady or the TV show The Durrells - a wry but sympathetic look at a family making the best of a hard time. What I got instead was an attempt at a humorous tone that felt sarcastic, nasty, and condescending. Perhaps the story will develop so that it isn't populated by such awful characters, but when there's so much sexism, ageism, and general misery already voiced by the characters, all given in this didactic, patronising tone, I don't really want to stick around to find out.
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NetGalley was nice enough to accept my request to read House of Trelawney. Sadly, I soon discovered that this book wasn't quite what I'd envisioned. I'm 40% in and the story has just sort of begun. Until that point we have countless scenes showing us how pathetic and silly the Trelawneys are. Most of the men in this novel are a mixture of bumbling and patronising fools. The women are subservient or considered weird/odd/undesirable and cannot stand up for themselves.
I'm fine with stories focused on dysfunctional family (rich or not) but these caricatures of aristocracy lacked bite and humour. Just because they are made to seem ridiculous doesn't mean that they are funny or clever satirical portraits of certain aristocratic/privileged types.
Worse still is that nothing much happens. The story is dull on all fronts. The Trelawney's House is only vaguely rendered. We have no clear descriptions other than it is 'run down'.
The characters predictably whiny and self-absorbed, reminding me very much of
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld . Exaggerating their quirks and behaviours doesn't really result in satire....

Since time is precious and all of that, I'm doing myself a favour by abandoning this novel. If unfunny satirical and uneventful stories are your thing you might want to check this out...
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First of all I'd like to thank Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for sharing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

This story is about the house of Trelawney which has been in existence for hundreds of years. We come to know many of the family members but the story really centres on three friends from childhood, Jane, Blaze and Anastasia. Jane is the wife and Blaze is the sister of Kitto, the current earl. At the beginning of the story there's a letter from Anastasia to Blaze and Jane, revealing she is dying and asking for one of them to take in her daughter. Anastasia may not be present but she has something of a ghostly presence and her actions have an effect on many in the family. 

Jane has tirelessly tried to keep the home going, despite a husband who gets stuck into bad financial schemes and fritters away the little money they have. Meanwhile Blaze is a whiz working in finance but whose warnings of financial crisis are being ignored in 2008 London. During the course of a couple years these characters will develop in ways they haven't before and the reader follows the progress with insights into many of the family members along the way. 

Okay I went through stages with this book. At first I was quite engaged but then I found it dragged quite a bit. I think it took a lot to understand the multitude of characters presented here. Further along, I found myself getting a better idea of what was going on and then things seemed to fall into place a bit more. To be honest the promise of great wit wasn't fulfilled all that much, particularly in the first half of the book. I began to see it a bit more as the story progressed but it wasn't complete. By the end I could appreciate a lot more of the story and I did like it in the end. 

I do take some issue with this idea that Apple was an up and coming company in 2008 since it's been around for ages. Also, I felt like the ending wasn't terribly satisfying and left a few too many loose ends. I don't expect all to wrapped up, especially with so many characters. But I do think all of the main arcs should be addressed to some degree. 

Anyway, I did like this overall and give it 3 stars.
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Loved this satire. The plot is turning the pages, from the start of the novel a letter arrives to the crumbling castle trelawney, and disturbs some of its inhabitants. Trelawneys are penniless aristocrats and their situation is something that could happen, but of course exaggerated for good reason.  extremely well-portrayed characters have funny dialogue - what's not to like.
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Gently satirical, this look at aristocracy in the modern world has a wonderful blend of interesting characters and sharp observations.
Life in Britain has a changed drastically in the last 100 years, many of the large family estates have fallen into decay and everyone has been affected by the blithe arrogance of worldwide bankers and money managers. I love the way that the author has packaged such bitter truths in such an entertaining read.
Definitely hoping for a follow-up.
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