JUST FINISHED: The Fairbairn Girls

Author:  Una-Mary Parker

Genre: Early 20th Century Fiction

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

A great way to describe The Fairbairn Girls is if you take the BBC series, Downton Abbey, and then turn it into a novel. Not saying that the book was first a television show, but that it reminded me a lot of Downton Abbey.

This novel is set in the early 1900s and deals with a wealthy estate family that undergoes the change up in society that the 1900s brought about as actual ‘business’ began to boom. This family in particular is hit with hard tragedies throughout which they believe to come in part from a curse.

While the tragedies made for an interesting plot point, it was also a bit vexing. The speed of the tragedies seemed to be about every two chapters. So, you would have a chapter of progression and then one of moping and remembering. This also cut down on the character development as, I felt, every time we got intimate with a character they were killed off or stopped progressing to focus on the sad event at hand. An easy way out for Parker to not have to focus on the multiple characters?

Another downside to all of the kill-offs was that I felt like the book never really got to a climax. It just stayed at the same level, with little ups and downs. The ending was also disappointing and didn’t actually resolve the main plot point of the family curse…

The book is mainly told through the sister, Laura, but often gravitates from the different character’s vantage points to get new perspectives. I found this a little confusing at the start as you are quickly introduced to several people. I had to keep back flipping to confirm that what I was reading was this person, etc. I got used to it after awhile and, in the end, was impressed that Parker could keep up with so many at once.

If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey and love the scandal and intrigue of the early 1900s, give ‘er a shot! Otherwise, if you have loved Downton Abbey but are getting increasingly frustrated with all of the characters that keep exiting the show, you might want to stay away from this one.

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