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Book Review: "Tyringham Park" by Rosemary McLoughlin

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The lives of three women were changed forever after the disappearance of a child. When Lady Edwina Blackshaw's daughter goes missing, when Charlotte Blackshaw's little sister goes missing, and the charge of Nurse Dixon goes missing, their lives are changed and yet forever connected. The damage of this child's disappearance will be lasting leading to anger, sorrow, bitterness, and scheming. In "Tyringham Park" by Rosemary McLoughlin, readers watch as a child disappearing impacts these three women in very different ways.

"Tyringham Park" begins with the disappearance of young Victoria Blackshaw, youngest daughter of the prominent Blackshaw family of Ireland. Everyone at the country estate of Tyringham Park feels the loss of beautiful and sweet baby Victoria, but three women most feel it. Lady Edwina Blackshaw, not exactly known for being nurturing or loving found her daughter to be the prettiest and sweetest thing in the world and is left bitter and cruel from the loss. Charlotte Blackshaw, the older and plainer sister of Victoria is left with the burden of knowing her mother and nurse wish it would have been her that disappeared. Nurse Dixon, a sweet as pie to your face nanny and a vicious and cruel nanny to the children feels anger and hatred towards Charlotte for still being alive and at the state of her life. Victoria's disappearance affects these women the rest of their lives as they go through being crippled, severely depressed, lying and stealing, and experiencing such loss. "Tyringham Park" is a novel of loss and how it impacts everyone in different ways.

"Tyringham Park" is being advertising as a "Downton Abbey" style book, but it is darker and much more emotionally complex. Characters do not get happy endings in this novel and often times experience true pain or lash out at others and do cruel or hurtful things. The three female characters are simply fascinating. Edwina is cold, aloof, and cruel towards Charlotte, but you can really believe she misses and longs for her Victoria. Nurse Dixon is a monster to the children and a generally cruel person, but seeing how she grew up in an orphanage, you can almost understand her resentment. The most complex and heartbreaking portrayal is of Charlotte. Charlotte suffers from the disappearance of Victoria, the neglect from her mother, and abuse from Nurse Dixon well into her adulthood dealing with self-esteem issues, loneliness, self-hatred, and so much more. This is a dark and complex look at these women.

This novel can be a difficult read as it changes character point of view frequently throughout the novel and is very dark, depressing, and unhappy. It is still a rich and fascinating read. McLoughlin needs to be applauded for going a darker route than the upstairs/downstairs drama of most "Downton Abbey" novels and showing readers damaged and complex female characters. This is a novel that will challenge your emotions!

To purchase "Tyringham Park": http://www.amazon.com/Tyringham-Park-Rosemary-McLoughlin/dp/1405910526

For more information on Rosemary McLoughlin: http://rosemarymcloughlin.com/

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