The Honourable Catherine

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
88 Pages
Reviewed on 06/23/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Tom Edwards’ historical novel, The Honourable Catherine, is the sequel to Jane Sinclair. This story traces the lives of Lady Jane’s children from birth, through childhood, and through the gruesome years of the First World War and the aftermath. Catherine, also called Kate, Katie and Poppet, and her brother, Christopher, have a special bond. When Christopher almost dies from the dreaded influenza, Catherine is able to connect with her brother and lend him her strength to heal. When he is injured in battle during the First World War, Catherine knows and is able to find him and help him heal. But a head injury causes Christopher to lose his memory and, separated from his sister, they are lost to each other for several years until a chance meeting brings them together again.

The author has created two charming characters in Lady’s Jane’s children, almost too good to be true for the noble classes. There is no snobbery amongst them and, although they appear to be spoiled, it doesn’t affect their kind natures and their desire to do good in the world, even at a young age. Both children are exceedingly clever and work hard on their studies. When Christopher is old enough to enlist, he doesn’t seek a commission as an officer, which in itself is unusual for someone of the noble class in this era. Rather, he enters the war as an ordinary private. His sister studies to become a doctor and fights her own battles to prove her worth, also in an era where women were still looked down upon in professions like medicine.

The plot moves along slowly through the childhood years and then picks up in 1917 when Christopher and Catherine are now old enough to contribute to the war effort. It is a simple story that mirrors the transitional era of Britain’s great manor houses as the war that was to end all wars challenges the class system and supposedly makes all men, and eventually women, equal. The detailed descriptions of characters and settings are provided both through dialogue and narrative passages, and all that makes The Honourable Catherine an interesting read. Perfect for fans of historical fiction and social issues of that era.