Ordered by my doctor to take a day off and do nothing—best medical advice I’ve ever received!—I plunged into this book, the first of a series of four books about the Cazalet family. Like Upstairs, Downstairs, and apparently also televised by NPR though I missed it, the Cazalet Chronicle follows the members of a large family and their servants in and around the Home Place where William and Kitty collect their grown sons and their families during the summer holidays.
Patriarch William, known as the Brig to make up for his being too old to serve in the Great War, has handed over more and more of his timber business, importing specialty woods, to sons Edward and Hugh, both wounded in the war, Edward by gas and Hugh losing a hand. The third son, Rupert, was too young to serve. He is a painter who rarely has time to paint, busy teaching art and supporting his young wife and children. This book opens in the summer of 1937 as Europe rolls towards another war. Continue reading