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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.
PRAISE FOR AT SUMMER'S END
“I loved everything about this book: the richly drawn characters, the evocative setting, the very heart and soul of the story within the pages. It’s everything you want in a novel for these times we are in. 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
"Readers will be captivated by this stirring debut of love, family secrets and human frailties. Told with wit and tenderness, this story is as unique as its characters, Bertie and Julian Wakeford, an earl like no other. Ellis deftly captures the devastation of war and what it means to be comfortable in one’s own skin.”
—Renee Rosen, bestselling author of The Social Graces
"Impeccable and luminous prose, lyrical storytelling through the light and the dark, and richly formed characters all blurred together in a golden haze. Courtney Ellis writes with exquisite skill, and captures the tone of the post-WWI period with what appears to be effortless ease."
—India Holton, author of The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels
“The lush setting and vivid characters are utterly captivating in Ellis' lovely debut.”
"Ellis makes a captivating debut with this account of a budding artist and a reclusive aristocrat in 1922 England. Ellis’s lyrical, emotional writing brings the beauty of Braemore alive while revealing the complexity of the richly drawn characters... Historical fiction fans will appreciate this."
"...a superb character study of women and their aspirations in the early 20th century and the long-term effects of World War I on soldiers, nurses, and those left behind...Readers will be filled with suspense, sometimes even anxiousness, but also cheer for Bertie’s boldness, her sense of accomplishment, and the decision she makes at summer’s end."
—Historical Novel Society