The Honourable Catherine by Tom Edwards
The Honourable Catherine by Tom Edwards is set in England in the early 1900’s and stretches through to the First World War. The book would work in any time period, however, because of Edwards’ flair for action-packed storytelling and the strong connections he weaves between his characters. The book follows the children of Sir Charles and Lady Jane Chumley—Christopher and his younger sister Catherine, who he lovingly calls Poppet. The title of the book seems like a misnomer, if only because the core of the book explores the tremendous and powerful bond between both of the children (not just Catherine), through childhood and beyond. Indeed, the affection Edwards portrays between Cat and Chris could inspire soft-hearted readers to dial a sibling to share an “I miss you.”
The Chumley children are born in the lap of luxury, and could have easily made them spoiled and bad-tempered, but they are instead completely unpretentious, hard-working and decent. Catherine takes care of her brother as he is ailing with influenza, and it inspires her to pursue medicine and become a doctor; Charles plays war games with his father and sister, and pursues a career in the military. All of the successes that the children earn in the tale are not handed to them; they are because of great bravery, brazenness and general chutzpah that is very much admirable. The great war deals a terrible blow to the Chumley family, but the connection between Catherine and her brother manages to keep hope alive. Cat helps to make a satisfying conclusion for two characters that readers will find very easy to love.
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