Sunday, April 27, 2014

Benedict Hall

Benedict Hall (A Benedict Hall Novel) –by Cate Campbell

Fiction / Historical
384 pages / 701 KB
5 Stars

The first in a series by Cate Campbell was, for me, a real page burner. This story is set in Seattle of the 1920s and it was great fun seeing what my old town used to look like through this author's eyes. As a retired Boeing employee, it was also fun to see how she treated Bill Boeing and The Boeing Company, at the time a small company building seaplanes.

The careful and thorough research by the author is delightfully woven into a story of love, jealous hatred, and a bit of ancient history through a magical stone the villain picked up while at war in Jerusalem that used to belong to Roxelana.

The people of this book are alive, and their surroundings given with such marvelous detail, I could almost reach out and touch them. I'm positive Benedict Hall actually exists, somewhere, in Seattle, just under a different name.

Margo Benedict is one of the few women physicians in Seattle, indeed of the time. Her father is one of the wealthiest men in Seattle, but she wants to do things her way, on her own without his help. Her mother doesn't understand why she would want to be a doctor, and not only treat the ill, but touch them. Her brother, Preston, has been jealous of her all his life, hates her, and even as a child tried more than once to kill her, which no one in the family saw or even believes.

Frank Parrish, a quiet man who served in Jerusalem with Preston and lost his arm in a battle, comes to Seattle and through a chance meeting with Preston on the street, is invited to Benedict Hall, where he meets the rest of the family, and is befriended by Dickson, the Patriarch. And, of course, falls in love with Margot.

Benedict Hall shows us the upheavals this highly thought-of and prestigious family goes through as they come to grips with Preston and his psychosis, and a strong-willed Margot who wants more than anything and against all odds, to become a surgeon. While there is a romance that builds, I would hesitate to call this a Romance novel. It is a history of Seattle and the times, a history of how women, servants, and blacks were thought of and treated.

I look forward to getting and reading the next books in this series. My only concern is that I will read them faster than Cate. Campbell will write them!

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