Finished May 19
Tyringham Park by Rosemary McLoughlin
This novel begins during World War I and ends during World War II. It is set mostly in Ireland, but a little in Australia. As the book begins, the youngest child of the manor, Victoria, just a toddler has disappeared from her carriage when left along for a time by her mother. A great search is launched and theories range from drowning in the nearby river to being snatched by a servant who has just left to emigrate to Australia.
The older child, 8-year-old Charlotte, seems deeply upset by the news, and remains silent for days. But is her demeanor just about the loss of her sister, or does the treatment she receives from her nanny, Nurse Dixon, have something to do with it.
Charlotte's mother is disappointed in her husband, a distant cousin who spends a great deal of his time in India or London. She is mad for the hunt and trains her horses to respond to her through fear. She has little interest in the daily lives of her children but dislikes others taking an interest in their development.
Charlotte feels herself to be unattractive and having little skill in anything. As she grows older, others encourage her natural aptitudes, but her mother discourages her confidence whenever possible.
But Charlotte's own passions sometimes take on a life of their own, and having her dreams realized brings her less happiness than she would hope.
This is a story of egos, or people who take out their own disappointments on others, and of the fleeting happiness of dreams built upon lies and deception. An engrossing story, but a sad one.