Redway Acres is a stable in Lincolnshire near Grantham in the UK. In the second half of the 18th century, a gentleman called George Stockton started the stable and was very successful. George Stockton was an “a large ox of a man with a head of thick red hair and green eyes”. He ran the stable with his wife and later with his granddaughter when she came to live with him in 1808.
Redway Acres or 'Redway' as its inhabitants and the local area residents affectionately term it, consists of a large manor house, the stable for the horses that they raise there and many acres of land. Also on the property is a large three story house for the family of the stable manager and several smaller cottages for Redway's workers and their families and in the stable. There is a farm and farmland rented from Redway. Adjoining Redway land on its Southeast side is the considerable, estate of Eastease, which is several times the size of Redway and includes a very grand house.
Joining Redway and Eastease is the North Road to the west, a distance of fewer than five miles. The wealthy Harker family own Eastease. Houses on the east side of the North Road belong to either Redway or Eastease, including the church and parsonage which both belong to Eastease. Opposite Redway is a large property with an uninhabited house and to the southwest the village of Eastcambe.
The Redway series begins with the story of George Stockton's granddaughter, Helena, and continues with Maria the ward of Alexander Harker of Eastease. Book Three concerns Genevieve Harker's middle sister, Martha Hopwood, and book four is about Harriet, Maria's twin sister. Coming soon is book five, Amelia, the youngest Hopwood sister.
I've had the privilege of reading all four books in the Redway Acres series. The author has created a "village" of characters, many of which appear in all four books, so the reader feels like s/he is immersed in an English community in the early 1800s. That feeling starts with a detailed map on page 1 of every book showing the location of the key places where much of the action takes place and is reinforced by the historical detail the author infuses into every page. Trish Butler has done her research about life in England in the early 1800s. The four female characters are extraordinarily strong women in a time when women had a more restricted role in society. It is delightful to see how she has put the problems of modern day life -- dysfunctional family relationships, physical disabilities, romantic entanglements of all kinds, poverty, prejudice, and social class distinctions into an earlier era. On the surface, this is a "romance novel". But if you dig a little deeper, you realize the serious issues that are brought up -- and in an entertaining format.
Maureen F. Shea, CT, USA.
These characters become your friends. You will think about them long after you close the covers of their books. Each book in the series stands by itself as it tells the story of a strong female character. Each of these women deals with their own challenges and triumphs, and yet their challenges and triumphs intertwine throughout the series. My suggestion would be that you read them each in order. You will soon become a fan of Ms. Butler's as I have!
Cheryl Duffy, CT, USA.
I have read all the books in this Redway Acres series. I enjoyed each one on its own, but by reading them as a series, you get to see the characters develop. Ms. Butler has a way with giving just enough information to keep you guessing and wanting to read the next book to find out what happens to your favorite people. Very strong female characters to cheer on!
Pat Marsden, CT, USA
Excellent books that can be read independently of each other, but if you read in order, the experience is so much better. I love that these books detail the difficulties faced by women in 1800s and how the characters worked hard to change their lives for the better, despite society's expectations! Definitely worth a read and I bet you won't put them down once started!!
Janine Westgate, Norwich, UK.