Published March 18.13Pages 448Publisher RandomHouse UK North AmericaPosting the 2nd book review in this March series for Women s History Month For this story, we enter the era leading up to, then WWI itself Author Dilly Court paints main character,Daisy Lennox, as a strong willed young woman unwilling to settle for the status quo Her interest in the suffragettes is just the first ofunusual involvements Daisy pursues Her sense of justiceinforms her life decisions and path she chooses Well drawn and well researched,Dilly Court, reveals unique moments in Women s History.My Thoughts Likeability of our MC, Daisy Lennox, is established early on in this story.Her attitudes and actions to those less fortunate are skillfully contrasted with the stiffly ruled and regulated uppercrust of her mother s society Daisy s adventurous spirit inwillingly assisting a young suffragette ends in a misadventure that entwines the two for the rest of the novel A saga covering a lengthy time span from 1912 to 1917 Daisy s discontent with the status quo leads her to pursue involvement, first with the suffragette movement highly criticized for their use of vandalism followed by introduction to the FANYS Organized for women to train as nurses for the unwanted yet inevitable WWI, Daisy finds purpose beyond the expected round of socializing, partying, and entertaining of a woman of her societal class.When it is realized her father s business partner has absconded with the profits,the family is reduced to selling their London property, liquidating assets,and relocating to their rural summer home Which just happens to neighbour lifelong family friends property An advantageous move for the family finances in general,for Daisy in particular And for Daisy s young suffragette friend, who is hired as maid of all work.For Daisy it s a direct connection with her childhood friend who wants than friendship The rest of the story unfolds beautifully for the remainder of the novel.Court has a particular warmth in her writing style a caring for the characters that kept me involved through tragedy and triumph War descriptions preceding, during, and following, are authentic and emotionally involving Particulars of this period of history are well researched As is the wealth of information on the FANYS written into the story without any sense of documentary.It is an excellent story of love s endurance and redemption.Important topics of marriage, class distinctions, romantic and familial relationships,pregnancy, wartime, and personal values, are written with serious consideration.My appreciation to Dilly Court for sharing her creation of Daisy s story with us About this author Dilly Court grew up in North east London and began her career in television, writing scripts for commercials She is married with two grown up children and four grandchildren, and now lives in Dorset on the beautiful Jurassic Coast with her husband She is the author of eighteen novels and also writes under the name of Lily Baxter Dilly says of her novels, Pacy stories, full of nostalgia and great plucky heroines set in turn of the twentieth century London I spend a long time researching my novels and fully enter the world when I am writing Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author in the UK, Dilly has sold over a million books to date Find Dilly on twitter DillyCourt Online at DillyCourt and at GreatBritishReadsMs Court is one of several British authors whose ebooks were made available in the US, with pb available as well in Canada and AU for the first time in 2013 as part of Random House UK s international marketing Appreciation to RandomHouse UK North America for providing an ecopy for reading and reviews without compensation or obligation.Original review posted at FAITH HOPE CHERRYTEA Despite Her Privileged Upbringing, Daisy Lennox Has Always Longed To Make Something Of Her LifeShe Is Drawn To The Suffragette Movement, But When Her Father Faces Ruin They Are Forced To Move To The Country And Daisy S First Duty Is To Her FamilyHere She Becomes Engaged To Her Childhood Friend A Union Both Families Have Dreamed OfBut, On The Eve Of Their Wedding, War Is Declared, And Daisy Knows Her Life Will Never Be The Same Again Originally published at Reading RealityThe Best of Daughters reminded me strongly of four different works Upstairs, Downstairs, The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig, Charles Todd s Bess Crawford series, and the very long shadow cast by Downton Abbey.The World War I era has suddenly become very popular, thanks to Downton Abbey, but Upstairs, Downstairs, definitely the precursor for Downton Abbey, was also set in that same period of social upheaval Great change makes for great drama.The Best of Daughters is about the daughter of a businessman The Lennox family are not members of the nobility Daisy starts out the story as upper middle class Wealthy but not a blue blood And she wants than the life planned out for her.She starts the story in rebellion against the strictures laid out for her by society Not just by being arrested at a suffragette demonstration, but by forming a friendship with a woman considered of a much lower class than herself.The bond that Daisy forms with Ruby is one of the foundations of the book As the title indicates, the story told from the point of view of the women in it, and the relationships between women form the backbone of the book.And even though Daisy does eventually find a traditional happily ever after, the book is really Daisy s search for purpose She only figures out what she wants in a romantic sense after she figures out who she is and what she wants in the other parts of her life.That the war upset the social applecart and made many things possible for her and all the women around her made the story much interesting than any mere search for romantic fulfillment could have been.Escape Rating B We go through this story from Daisy s perspective, seeing the world as she grows and changes It s fortunate that she is not just likeable, but that the character is interesting, intelligent, and adaptable Most important, she makes mistakes and learns from them.Her character arc is one that contemporary readers can invest in she starts as a very young woman who wants to make the world a better place, but has been a bit too sheltered to quite know how She also desperately needs a purpose to her life Then she suddenly has than she bargained for and has to adapt quickly She does, but finds the weight of managing everyone almost too much to bear.And then the war Following Daisy s career as a nursing assistant was very reminiscent of Charles Todd s Bess Crawford series start with A Duty to the Dead , which covers the same period from the perspective of a trained nurse and is definitely worth a read.Daisy comes back around to the place she started from But she doesn t, because she s not the same She grows up to realize that love was waiting for her all along, but that it has to meet her on her terms, and not the traditional terms that would have been set when she was a girl The world has changed and she has changed with it And anyone who loves her, including her family, has to accept those changes.It makes for compelling family drama. I have found a new favorite author Dilly Court Dilly Court is an English novelist who writes wonderful romantic historic fiction I read The Best of Daughters while we were camping over Labor Day weekend and I loved it If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, like me, you will appreciate the setting of The Best of Daughters Daisy Lennox is the daughter of a well to do stock broker growing up in Edwardian England She is rich, beautiful, and privileged, but she wants out of life She joins the suffragette movement to fight for woman s rights, but she finds her world soon crashing down when her father s business partner leaves the country with all of the firm s money Daisy seeks to reinvent herself in the country and finds herself physically attracted to Bowman, the mechanic that is fixing her father s car She also finds that the entire neighborhood is under Bowman s spell Daisy s mother s dream is that Daisy will marry her childhood friend, Rupert While Rupert is wonderful and attractive, Daisy finds herself wishing for the spark that she finds with Bowman WWI soon intervenes and Daisy finds herself making hard choices, but also doing the best that she can for her friends and her family.I loved the twists and turns that the novel took with the fate of Daisy and her friends and family I had a very hard time putting this book down, I m just glad it was a vacation weekend I loved the romance, but I really loved the setting and the hard realities that WWI put everyone through Having Daisy as a nurse on the front experiencing it first hand was a wonderful narrative, but it was also sad to read at times As WWI drifts further back in time, it s easy to forget the horror that it really was.I read The Best of Daughters as part of the TLC book tour For on this book and The Lady s Maid check out the TLC website you cannot buy a hardcover copy of Dilly Court s books in the United States The good news is that you can purchase eBooks of her novels at the following site Great British Reads Historical and Contemporary eBooks from across the pond review was originally published on my blog at This was my first introduction to Dilly Court I must say I was very pleased with this jump into a period novel I was fascinated with the way that Dilly was able to use accurate verbiage throughout her descriptions and found myself looking up a few words here or there When the words are added simply to push it onto the reader that the author is knowledgeable it annoys me Dilly doesn t do this at all The writing flows and fits and had she used modern words in her descriptions it would have been off putting This book takes you back into times right before WWI when a well to do family is flung into a state of trial as her father s business is swindled by his partner and forces them to flee to the countryside giving up the luxuries they once took for granted Daisy is on the path to finding herself and begins by attending meetings and demonstrations by the suffragettes This path is halted on their move to the countryside which has Daisy searching for another path Most of the characters were likable and loved the family interactions At the beginning I really struggled with Daisy s infatuation I really love how we see and most of the other characters develop throughout the novel At first I thought it was moving particularly slow amidst all the dress fittings and shopping sprees but I really got into it as the war started I really loved how much she grew and matured I enjoyed the story and the ending There were no loose ends and everything ended well There was romance but not a lot of lusty sex scenes, just small kissing scenes There wasn t language and the war scenes were moving but not too heavy There wasn t a lot of angst but there was a lot of painful war scenarios I definitely enjoyed this one and will find by this author I am eager to see what else she has written. As the eldest daughter and with a mama intent on improving her family s social position, Daisy knew what was expected of her, no matter how it chafed to behave as a lady ought, and to marry soon and above all, marry well But in 1912 Daisy s world stands on the brink of profound change, and she cannot resist the siren call of the women s suffragette movement and its heady message of empowerment Daisy believes that campaigning to see women granted the vote is a worthy passion, one that will allow her to make an indelible mark on the world, and fulfill her closely held dreams of independence For while ambition outside of marriage may be unconventional in a woman, it is the future Daisy craves, far preferable to marrying her childhood best friend the wealthy and highly respectable Rupert just because their mothers have willed that it will be so.But Daisy s dreams of activism and her mother s of an advantageous marriage crumble when the their fortune vanishes and the family is left swindled, their reputation in tatters Forced into exile into a modest country home, far from the never ending whirl of London s social scene, Daisy s eyes are opened to a world she never dreamed existed, filled with social and professional possibilities she would have never known had her family remained ensconced in their privileged London lifestyle Even as Daisy puts her dreams on hold to care for her family, her mother continues to push for a marriage to Rupert, made all the critical as it promises to restore her family to solvency As Daisy weighs her heart s desires the world catapults toward an all encompassing conflict that threatens to to not only rob her of her dreams but destory any hope she has of a future When the specter of the Great War arrives at Daisy s door, she s left with the greatest choice of all to embrace the brave new world being forged in the crucible of conflict, to allow herself to forge a new path of her own making, or to remain forever a pawn in the plans of others, powerless to direct the destiny of her heart and life.When the opportunity to review The Best of Daughters was presented I jumped at the chance Court is apparently a best selling novelist in Britain, and a quick perusal of her novels on promised soapy, engrossing, historical reads essentially a Masterpiece costume drama in novel form Daisy s story dovetails nicely with the first two seasons of Downton Abbey and is tailor made to appeal to fans of the soapy, Fellowes penned drama and those of a similar ilk But what The Best of Daughters lacks that its filmic counterpart has in spades is sharp, compelling characterization For all one may take issue with Downton s plotlines, Fellowes has a proven knack for crafting buzz worthy television with characters that, love them or hate them, viewers respond to passionately.While I liked Daisy and applauded her desire to forge her own path in a world that proscribed strict social roles for women, Court glosses over Daisy s character arc, failing to provide any real depth to Daisy s struggle to balance her dreams with her familial obligations until the novel s final act The cross class romance with Bowman, an appealing rake and auto mechanic, is little than a blatant retread of the Downton Sybil Branson romance, only lacking any of the pairing s character or relational development, not to mention chemistry For an allegedly critical turning point in her life, Daisy s scandalous relationship with Bowman falls flat, leaving one to wonder for most of the novel if Rupert wouldn t be better off without Daisy after all.Although Daisy s characterization is uneven at best, Court s secondary characters shine in comparison Beatrice, Daisy s spoiled younger sister, develops a surprising romance with a farmer horrors , and Daisy s unorthodox friendship with her fellow suffragette turned maid Ruby is a bright spot of occasional humor, but than that it serves as an effective vehicle for examining each woman s otherwise wildly disparate lifestyle While The Best of Daughters falls into the narrative trap of telling info dumping vs showing nuanced characterization, what Court does best here is suggest at a high level what a turbulent period of change her characters endured, and the inherent possibilities in the same for women like Daisy who dared to dream of something I also appreciated how she brought to light aspects of history that receive little attention in either the general historical record or in fiction of this type, such as the work of the FANYs First Aid Nursing Yeomanry during the Great War.While The Best of Daughters lacked the nuance and emotional depth I crave in historical fiction, I am nonetheless thrilled to have discovered a new to me author whose work covers often ignored time periods and possesses a laudable scope and ambition, though it may falter in the realization of the latter Through the lens of readjusted expectations, having how experienced one of Court s novels, I d characterize her work as historical fiction lite a soapy, glossy look at a tumultuous time, with an ambition seen in films than popular fiction in my experience Though the narrative is occasionally cumbersome too little showing the development of characters and relevant plot points Court touches on a variety of issues that readers with an interest in women s history will find fascinating from the FANYs to the eroding social barriers that allowed a friendship to develop between Daisy and Ruby While not quite captivated I am intrigued, and will definitely explore Court s fiction further A gripping tale of love , loss and war with a worthy heroine.1912 London Daisy Lennox has had a privileged life , but feels something is missing She longs to join the Suffragettes Alas her first attempt ends in disaster.When the family fortunes disappear they are facing ruin and have to move out of London Here Daisy finds herself running the home as her Mother is incapable of doing anything useful When war is declared Daisy must grow up and find what living in the real world entails She must face the horrors of war and learn what love really means. Good readAlthough I felt this book a little slow to begin with and it took me longer to read than normal I enjoyed it and would recommend it. I wasn t sure if I d like Daisy to begin with but she grew on me A good story about the horrors of ww1. The best of daughtersI really enjoyed reading this story It was not obvious what would happen next which kept my interest from start to finish.