Review: A Bloom in Winter by T.J. Brown
A Bloom in Winter by T.J. Brown.
Series: Summerset Abbey #2.
Published: March 5, 2013.
Published by: Gallery Books.
Source: Provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you, T.J!
The highly anticipated second installment in the Summerset Abbey series, which picks up just after the climatic conclusion of book one. After Prudence’s desperate marriage and move to Devonshire, sisters Rowena and Victoria fear they have lost their beloved friend forever. Guilt-ridden and remorseful, Rowena seeks comfort from a daring flyboy and embraces the most dangerous activity the world has ever seen, and Victoria defies her family and her illness to make her own dream occupation as a botanist come true. As England and the world step closer to conflict, the two young women flout their family, their upbringing, and their heritage to seize a modern future of their own making.
I really enjoyed the first novel in the series, Summerset Abbey (My Review), so I was excited to see what the second installment brought. I am delighted to say that I didn't feel like this suffered from the dreaded second-book slump at all!
One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the character growth that occurred. In Summerset Abbey, I had my frustrations with Rowena and in a way I was glad to see that these weren't unfounded as they carried over well to this novel. She was a bit dim, probably for the purpose of plot, and her actions continued to bother me at times but I actually appreciated it because it gave her room for growth through this novel. I was so glad to see that she learned to really question herself instead of simply feeling bad for herself. I was also glad she questioned her feelings for Jonathan and the difference between attraction and love, because so many young women don't.
I also really enjoyed the way Victoria's storyline developed in this novel. It was so enjoyable to see her become bolder and stronger, even if she was still largely disillusioned. I think she finally took charge of her own life, which was so great to see. I also think it was a realistic, if somewhat jarring view of how a mistake can really change your life. It was also fun for me to get Kit's perspective in this one because he has such a different view of Victoria than was shared before. It also brought more to his character and really fleshed out the relationship they shared. As for Prudence, I found it really interesting to see her struggle to adapt to her new role as wife and working class homemaker, which she was never prepared for under the Buxton roof. Her romantic conflict was done well, and I think having each girl go through something different but having each situation be so tough was very fitting for their class situations where love is not really the deciding factor.
Overall I was impressed with the way the characters and their respective situations developed and became more distinct in this novel. The increased importance to the story of some of the side characters really brought in a fresh perk and the way the action picked up was exciting. No disappointing middle novel for this trilogy!