by Penny Vincenzi
Category: Fiction / General
0 pages; ISBN: 1585674826
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Overlook, Oct 2004, $26.95, 710 pp.
In the late 1902s, the House of Lytton publishing firm is one of the world leaders. Oliver and Celia run the firm from London, but also have successful branches in New York and Paris. Their late teen twin daughters Adele and Venetia enjoy the fruits of growing up in an affluent forward thinking family. Their brother Giles is angry that his parents force him to work his way up the chain even at an escalated pace rather than start at the top where he feels he belongs. The fourth “sibling”, though not from their DNA, Barty Miller was raised by the Lyttons.
The winds of change blow across Europe in the 1930s as the Nazis come into power. The House of Lytton is in financial trouble even as the siblings go their separate ways. Adele and much of the family are in Paris while Venetia resides in London trying to keep a shaky marriage together. However, it is Barty living and working in New York who brings hope that the House of Lytton might weather the Nazi blitzkrieg.
This historical saga that predominantly provides insight into Europe and New York City in the 1930s is a tour de force that will stun readers with its imminence and strong spotlight in a world that is crashing on the English aristocracy. The story line follows the siblings especially the females as the Nazis destroyed their sheltered upbringing. Readers will appreciate how each copes and adjusts or fails with the Winds of War beginning to blow across Europe.
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