Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.
My pick for this week is The House of York, a contemporary dark drama loosely based on events during The Wars of the Roses.
When widowed single mother Lisa Grey meets the charismatic and gorgeous Elias York, whose family own the popular chain of York wine bars and cafés, there is an instant attraction. Lisa is waiting for her friend to pick her up when Elias and Paul Hastings pull up to view a cottage for sale. After a chatting with Elias and Paul Lisa decides to accept their offer to look around the cottage with them and the course of her life is set from that moment.
Jacquie, Lisa’s mum, is an intuitive and knows Lisa and Elias are meant for each other, although not everyone is pleased. Cecily York, Lisa’s mother-in-law to be, seems very intimidating to a down to earth girl from an ordinary family background who, up until she met and fell for Elias, held no great expectations for her future.
Cecily gave me a warm smile with seven shades of animosity behind it. “I expect Lisa did that ‘me and my son, we come as a package’ thing, did she?’ She tittered. “Good for you, dear – I have absolute respect for women who go all out to get the best for themselves and their children.” She didn’t add what a shame ‘the best’ had to be my son, but she might as well have done.
The story takes us from 1993 to 2014 and follows the fortunes of the three York brothers, Elias, Richard and Gabriel, and their half-sister, Megan. Each chapter is written from an individual character’s perspective, in a conversational way which makes the narrative very appealing and defines the personas as each confides their inner thoughts and feelings. Elias, the eldest, warm and good-natured. Gabriel, cheerful, a gambler and borderline alcoholic. And enigmatic Richard who keeps dark secrets. Megan who is the product of Felix York’s affair with her mother, is self-sufficient and unsociable. Lisa is really at the centre of the story and the most down to earth, regardless of marrying into money.
Lisa and Elias enjoy a peaceful and untroubled marriage until disturbing undercurrents of resentment and envy begin to weave through their lives and Lisa’s first impressions of Elias’ brothers prove to be accurate but much more destructive than she could ever have imagined. After tragedy strikes an evil darkness affects everyone’s lives as events spiral out of control.
I always look forward to reading Terry Tyler’s work, knowing it’ll be something special, but a part of me did wonder if she could match the brilliant Kings and Queens, which mirrored the story of Henry VIII and his wives, and Last Child, following the next generation. The House of York again has historical associations, but this time the story is loosely based on Richard III and events during the War of the Roses. Not that any knowledge of that period is necessary to enjoy the book. And yes, Ms Tyler did match Kings and Queens, and then some. I love the fact the characters are so diverse and the dark element running through.
At its heart, the story is a family drama with all the associated jealousies, marital difficulties and power struggles that can happen when a successful and wealthy company is involved. There are several details which make this book stand out: the extremely dark aspect, which is written cleverly without unnecessary detail, the terrific ending which I really didn’t see coming and wonderfully complex and distinct characters who are very well drawn and believable. Coupled with an intriguing and ominous storyline, this book is an incredibly good read.
Widowed single mum, Lisa Grey, and wealthy businessman, Elias York, are young and madly in love. A recipe for happiness? But Lisa is marrying into a complicated family. Her new sister-in-law doesn’t want to know her. Middle brother Gabriel’s marriage suffers under a cloud of infidelity and gambling debts, while the youngest, Richard, keeps his dark secrets well hidden—and his wife suffers in silence.
Lisa and her mother are bonded by their powerful intuition, but dare not voice their fears about York Towers—or certain members of the family…
Love and loss, abduction, incestuous desires and murderous intent form the basis of this compelling saga in which horrors float just beneath the surface, to bring forth a shocking outcome.