The year was 1878. The place was Byland Crescent, located in a town called Scarborough, on the North Sea coast of North Yorkshire, England.
The story is about the Cowgill family that grew up in poverty. Albert was the son determined to free the family from impoverishment. He decided to learn the wool business early on and as a result he managed to become a respected, wealthy, business partner of a global wool merchant business. He was only twenty-three years old.
Albert did extremely well, being promoted often. The business grew and prospered because of his innovative ideas. The three partners were living well; married, children, maids, butlers, servants for their every need. Albert brought in family members to his firm to share the wealth.
Meetings were held involving deals and decisions were made for the thriving wool merchant business. There was honesty, integrity, and loyalty, however, the intrigue in Requiem was the conspiracies, manipulations, and deceptions. This perfect mixture is what made Requiem such an impressive book.
Partners came and went, employees were promoted and demoted, family members were disowned, and people were murdered. The author left nothing out of his remarkably chronicled family saga.
All this drama took place before the start of WWI. Then in the midst of the war, family life changed dramatically. Hence to say, maids, butlers, and servants for their every need were not part of daily life anymore. Everyone had to pitch in to help with the war. Tragedy affected every family. Some members came home wounded; others never made it home.
The family problems in Requiem were not just business and war related. Health issues of the early 1900’s took many lives. Family problems concerned children who were disowned for being gay and others who married beneath parent’s expectations.
I thought Requiem was a literary masterpiece which possessed each trait determined for a master work. For example, there were many characters and places yet there was never a time I was lost or confused. The author had an effective, subtle way in his style of writing to add a reminder just when it was needed.
This was my first book read by Bill Kitson, Writing as William Gordon, and it was a pleasure to start with Requiem. This was Book One of the Byland Crescent series. At the end of Requiem it states Book Two, is coming soon.
I recommend Requiem for readers of all ages as it’s also an enjoyable way to learn history. I’m anticipating another great read when Book Two is released.