At Summer's End by Courtney Ellis
Paperback, 368 pages
Publication: August 10th 2021 by Berkley Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
From Goodreads: A sparkling debut from a new author we're all going to want more from."--Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things
When an ambitious female artist accepts an unexpected commission at a powerful earl's country estate in 1920s England, she finds his war-torn family crumbling under the weight of long-kept secrets. From debut author Courtney Ellis comes a captivating novel about finding the courage to heal after the ravages of war.
Alberta Preston accepts the commission of a lifetime when she receives an invitation from the Earl of Wakeford to spend a summer painting at His Lordship's country home, Castle Braemore. Bertie imagines her residence at the prodigious estate will finally enable her to embark on a professional career and prove her worth as an artist, regardless of her gender.
Upon her arrival, however, Bertie finds the opulent Braemore and its inhabitants diminished by the Great War. The earl has been living in isolation since returning from the trenches, locked away in his rooms and hiding battle scars behind a prosthetic mask. While his younger siblings eagerly welcome Bertie into their world, she soon sees chips in that world's gilded facade. As she and the earl develop an unexpected bond, Bertie becomes deeply entangled in the pain and secrets she discovers hidden within Castle Braemore and the hearts of its residents.
Threaded with hope, love, and loss, At Summer's End delivers a portrait of a noble family--and a world--changed forever by the war to end all wars.
My Thoughts: Beauty and the Beast! Bertie is commissioned to paint for an Earl, upon arrival she finds that things are not exactly she expected. She arrives at the home to find the Earl lives in his own apartment, does not venture out, and does not see visitors. Somehow, she breaks through the barricade that the Earl has built around himself and gives him friendship, support, and possibly more.
I really enjoyed seeing Bertie not only open the doors that the Earl has slammed shut but she also learns how to live for herself. She realizes that she has talent, that she can stand on her own two feet, and that she does not have to bend to society’s expectations. I liked that she stood up for herself to her parents, to the Earl, and to the Earl’s family. She showed her strength while still being respectful and true to what she needs to be happy.
I enjoyed the 1920’s and look forward to visiting there again. Historical Fiction books are a great escape to the past and learning about the history in an enjoyable way.
**Thank you NetGalley and Berkley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
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Meet Courtney Ellis: Courtney Ellis is the author of the forthcoming historical fiction novel, AT SUMMER'S END. She began writing at a young age, and developed an interest in history from her grandfather’s stories of World War II. After obtaining her BA in English and Creative Writing, she went on to pursue a career in publishing. She lives in Western New York with her rescue dog.