Monday, April 14, 2014

Netherwood by Jane Sanderson

I have found a new author to enjoy – Jane Sanderson!  Netherwood is a historical fiction novel set around the year 1902 in the fictional town of Netherwood in England.  Eve Williams is the wife of coal miner, Arthur Williams, and the mother of three children.  She is known for her great cooking.  When tragedy strikes, Eve must make the most of her talent to help her family survive.  

The mines at Netherwood are owned by Lord Netherwood.   The Earl has a pretty, but unfaithful wife, an eldest daughter with great management skills, an heir with no management skills or interest in running the estate, and another son and beloved youngest daughter.  He also has a vast staff that sees to the running of the estate.

I loved the weaving together of the various characters and plot lines, it is an epic saga set during a fascinating period in time.  The book is marketed to lovers of Downton Abbey, which includes me!  It is actually set ten years before Downton Abbey and focuses on Eve and the Netherwood aristocratic family’s story.  There are side stories about the servants as well, but they aren’t half of the story as they are in Downton Abbey.  That being said, I think Netherwood stands on its own merits from Downton Abbey as a great book and engrossing saga.  It is not a Downton Abbey clone, but will appeal to those looking for a great story set during a similar time.

I also was very fascinated by the story of the coal miners and their families.  I went to college in Houghton, Michigan, which is the heart of Copper Country.  I took a great class about copper mining and am very interested in it.  I thought Netherwood did a great job of capturing the triumph and tragedy of working in a mine.

Overall, I loved Netherwood and am currently entranced with its sequel, Ravenscliffe.  I highly recommend this book.

Book Source:   Review copy from William Morrow an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.  Thank-you!


  1. Laura, this sounds quite fascinating. I don't think I've ever read a story about coal miners! Terrific, concise review.

  2. Thank-you! It is a great book as well as its follow-up, Ravenscliffe.