Book Club Gold: The Buttonmaker’s Daughter by Merryn Allingham #bookclubgold #GreatReads

By | April 8, 2017

Ready for the next book? It’s The Buttonmaker’s Daughter by Merryn Allingham.


Discussion question: Would you put loyalty to your family above the future you want and have planned for yourself? If so, in what circumstances?

From the author

It’s tempting to see The Buttonmaker’s Daughter as following in the footsteps of the phenomenally successful TV series, Downton Abbey. The book is set around the same time and touches on many of the same issues – the upstairs/downstairs divide, the difficulty of marrying out of one’s class, an estate’s constant need for money, and the restrictive life that middle and upper class women were forced to lead. But the inspiration for the book was something quite different to the TV drama. It lay in a very old gardens.

Two years ago, I made a memorable visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, ‘lost’ because they were only rediscovered in 1990 and since that time have been lovingly restored – the work, in fact, is still ongoing. The gardens’ heyday was in the late Victorian/Edwardian period when their owners spent a great deal of money, time and effort in creating a beautiful and exotic paradise. But, when in 1914, war came to England, everything changed.

It was the human stories of that period that set me on the path to writing The Buttonmaker’s Daughter. One that affected me greatly concerned the ordinary men whose labour created this beauty. On one particular day in the summer of 1914, every gardener on the estate downed tools and walked together to Redruth, to enlist at the local recruiting centre. Most of those men never returned. The Day Book, which should have listed every job done, carried only the date that day and was never used again. With the loss of so many, it proved impossible to maintain the gardens and they slowly succumbed to the ravages of nature, until the ‘sleeping beauty’ was rediscovered some thirty years ago.

If you’d like to obtain a free copy of this lovely looking book, just click on the cover image. And here’s a reminder of that link: Next book on its way at 2pm…