Author: Cate Campbell
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp, 2013
Pages: 378 p
Frank Parrish is back in the States after voluntarily serving overseas for the King’s Army in the First World War. He is looking for work when he runs into a fellow soldier, Preston Benedict, who promises to help him. Parrish winds up getting entrenched in Benedict’s family life, especially with his sister Margot, a doctor at a time when women were encouraged to be nurses but not doctors. Benedict Hall alternates the viewpoints of the story between Parrish, Preston Benedict, Margot Benedict and the Benedict’s African American butler Blake.
The novel starts out slowly, taking time to introduce each of the characters and establish the background of the story. It feels very much like a show setting the stage and the back cover claims that fans of TV’s Downton Abbey will enjoy it. Once the introductions are done and Campbell focuses on the heart of the tale—Preston’s odd sadistic nature and its effects on those around him—it truly does become a page-turner. Campbell has a flair for historical fiction, which is not surprising since Campbell is author Louise Marley’s new pseudonym for stories that are pure historical fiction. Benedict Hall will not disappoint fans of the genre. Campbell handles issues of gender and race, as well as family conflict quite well against the larger backdrop of a country coming of age.
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