Title: Beauchamp Hall
Author: Danielle Steel
Published: November 27th 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3 stars
An uplifting, inspiring story about taking back control of your life, by the world’s favourite storyteller, Danielle Steel.
Winona Farmington can’t help but feel that life is passing her by, in backwater Michigan town. She hates her job, her boyfriend won’t commit. But she escapes the dreariness of everyday life with her favourite TV show, Beauchamp Hall, an English period drama.
When she makes a shocking discovery, Winona knows it’s time to make a change and travels to the picturesque English village that’s home to the world of Beauchamp Hall, in pursuit of a new adventure . . .
Drama, romance and pure entertainment. As soon as you select a novel written by one the world’s biggest bestselling authors, Danielle Steel, you know you will guaranteed a read that encompasses all three of these values. In Beauchamp Hall, the last release of Steel’s for 2018, the festive and snow filled cover was enough to entice me to put this on the top of my expansive tbr pile. Beauchamp Hall is a story of self discovery, hope and love as one woman realises her true calling in life, all thanks to a popular television series!
Beauchamp Hall is introduced as ‘the uplifting story of an ordinary woman embracing an extraordinary adventure, reminding us that we should follow our dreams and never accept second best’. This is a perfect outline of Beauchamp Hall. Winona (Winnie) Farmington is Steel’s heroine of the tale. When Winnie hits three blows in very close succession of unexpected unemployment, a break up with a long term boyfriend and a cutting betrayal from her very best friend, it seems the coast is clear for Winnie to finally make the move away from her home town. Winnie trades her ordinary life in Michigan for the bright lights of England, on an exclusive estate that is currently the central filming location for Winnie’s beloved favourite television show, Beauchamp Hall. This is the stuff dreams are made out of. It doesn’t take long before Winnie becomes an extra and then an errand girl for the popular television series. She makes friends with the cast and her life takes a turn for the better. Will Winnie find happiness, self satisfaction and love all within the walls of Beauchamp Hall?
Reading Beauchamp Hall, made me immediately think of the 2013 British-American film production of Austenland, which was inspired by the 2007 book with the same title. This romantic comedy centres around a thirty something woman obsessed with all things Jane Austen, who takes a life changing trip to a British resort that specialises in creating an Austen inspired experience for its visitors. I felt like Beauchamp Hall definitely has this line of thinking. There are also obvious parallels between Beauchamp Hall and the well received British television series Downton Abbey. I’m a big fan of this British period drama, which I miss dearly since it ended, so a book that fills this void was very much welcomed on my behalf!
Steel devotes a fair amount of time in her latest novel to setting the scene and circumstances of her leading lady, Winnie. We soon learn that Winnie is a fairly ordinary woman, she has a consistent day job with no prospects, a long term boyfriend who will not commit and a fairly unexciting day-to-day life, which revolves around visiting her sister and her family. It is a mundane existence and you get the feeling that Winnie is well and truly stuck in a rut, which has been the case since she returned home to see to the care of her sick mother, who has now passed on. In these sequences there are two clear bad guys of the story, Winnie’s boss, who delivers a low blow in the promotion stakes. Then there is Winnie’s long term loser boyfriend, who clearly does not love her, but would rather use her to deal with his sexual fantasies. For this, I do issue a trigger warning, as the scenes did contain some graphic content that didn’t sit too well with me. The unexpected third villain of the tale who disappointed me greatly was Winnie’s best friend. I’m not going to divulge anything further on this as I’m being careful not to ruin the story for you!
It was really heartwarming to see Winnie take the bull by the horns so to speak, to take charge of her life and realise that she needed to move on. I can only imagine how hard this would be, but Winnie shows the reader what she is made of and embarks on a trip of a lifetime across the globe to the quaint British estate where her favourite television show is based. Although Beauchamp Hall is set to a slow pace, the book does pick up at this point. When Winnie arrives in, we get a very good glimpse into the entertainment world. We get an insider’s view of filming, production, sets, cast and crew issues on a big budget production. I also liked how Steel allowed the reader to see how the residents of the small town of Burnham Market that played the home of Beauchamp Hall was so changed by the show. It was fascinating to follow. I did feel Winnie was almost too incredibly lucky to fall into the positions she does through the book, but as this is a modern fairytale story, I can forgive Ms Steel for this fancy!
Beauchamp Hall is a modern women’s fiction title with romance elements. Winnie does make a few wrong choices in the romance department with her suitors, but this adds a sense of complication to the tale. Expect your heart to beat a little faster in a few sequences of this novel, thanks to the romantic writing of Danielle Steel. All in all, I feel readers will find Winnie’s character and situation very relatable. Following Winnie’s romance is a nice way to spend a few hours.
Beauchamp Hall is a charming tale, that I can easily envisage being read by an open fire while the snow falls gently outside, it is the perfect winter warmer. One to sit back and enjoy this festive season!
Beauchamp Hall by Danielle Steel was published on November 27th 2018 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Beauchamp Hall, Danielle Steel, visit here.
*I wish to thank the publisher, Pan Macmillan for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.