Written by Victoria Libby
I finished reading Landed Estate, today, a book by Ben Kesp. I totally loved it. It’s fabulous. Ben has a very formal, old world way of writing, at least with the last two of his novels that I have read. I have found myself loving the formal style more with each page I read. It's so different from the way most historical romances are written by most female writers that am used to reading but I found myself totally caught up in the storyline. I felt a pull on my heart, a connection to Susanna, through time and space. A connection to situations, that felt so similar but different at the same time. Oh course in Landed Estate, Susanna is from the wealthy aristocratic family, as for me, I do not share her life from that aspect.
I don't think it matters what side one is on, we can all have challenging struggles in our lives and issues within our families that we have to learn to deal with and get through. I find myself drawn to Susanna and seeing and comparing some of my issues/situations with hers and those few fleeting moments of happiness come and go so quickly. I found myself starting to cry several times.
I was surprised by the last chapter, but a nice surprise, as the story jumped two hundred years to our present. I was glad that Samuel found the letters but I did wish more of the letters could have been shared in the novel. At first I thought maybe Edgar’s forbidden book about the family was buried among them. I really enjoyed reading Landed Estate that I did not want it to end and kept wanting to know more.
Katherine Villiers was character within Landed Estate, whom I thought seemed to have a cruelness and self centeredness about her but as time passes I think she has many regrets and sees the error of her ways but I don't think she can totally change. I believe there is a part of her in all of us. The difference between Katherine and Susanna is that Susanna seems to be working for the good of the family, whereas Katherine is being cruel, hurtful/hateful and not acting on love and for the best for family. I felt very sorry for her at the end.
I also loved Harriet Westby for being so feisty but love the fact that she has foresight and is smart and understood how things work within the family and that she can see the wisdom in Susanna’s words. Harriet was lucky to have a good teacher in Susanna.
It was sad that only the West House survived in the end, however it is reflective of the period and the changes that occurred within rural Ireland. I thoroughly enjoyed Landed Estate, its story and its characters. Susanna Westby is a woman I can really relate and connect with. Thank you Ben.
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