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The books behind the BBC drama with Hugh Bonneville, Anna Chancellor, Stephen Dillane, Lesley Manville, and Joanna Page.
What is the Cazalet Chronicles series about?
Written by English novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard, the Cazalet Chronicles is a saga about the life of a large privileged family from the 1930s to the ‘1950s.
Beginning in 1937, the Cazalets Chronicles explores the affairs, passions and ambitions of the Cazalet family of Home Place, Sussex. From pre-war through to the Fifties, the three generations of the family experience love, loss, and, ultimately, life-altering change…
How to read the Cazalet Chronicles Books in Order?
- The Light Years – Every summer, the Cazalet brothers, Hugh, Edward and Rupert, return to the family home in the heart of the Sussex countryside with their wives and children. There, they are joined by their parents and unmarried sister Rachel to enjoy two blissful months of picnics and childish games. But despite the idyllic setting, nothing can be done to soothe the siblings’ heartache: Hugh is haunted by the ravages of war, Edward by his latest infidelity and Rupert by his inability to please his demanding wife. Meanwhile, Rachel risks losing her only chance at happiness because of her unflinching loyalty to the family.
- Marking Time – Home Place, Sussex, 1939. The English family at war . . . The sunlit days of childish games and family meals are over, as the shadows of war roll in to cloud the lives of one English family. At Home Place, the windows are blacked out and food is becoming scarce as a new generation of Cazalets takes up the story. Louise dreams of being a great actress, Clary is an aspiring writer, while Polly, is burdened with knowledge and the need to share it.
- Confusion – London and Sussex, 1942. The privileged English family in turmoil . . . The long, dark days of struggle provide the poignant background to the third book of the Cazalet Chronicles. As the war enters its fourth year, chaos has become a way of life. Both in the still peaceful Sussex countryside, and in air-raid-threatened London, the divided Cazalets begin to find the battle for survival echoing the confusion in their own lives.
- Casting Off – The aftermath of war, and the slow dawning of a new era of freedom and opportunity, shape the destinies of the Cazalets in the fourth volume of this magnificent family saga. Polly, Clary and Louise, now grown up, are ready to discover the truth about the adult world. While Rupert, Hugh and Edward must make the choices that will decide their own – and the family’s – future. For the Cazalets, and all those close to them, one end is another beginning . . .
- All Change – It is the 1950s and as the Duchy, the Cazalets’ beloved matriarch, dies, she takes with her the last remnants of a disappearing world – of houses with servants, of class and tradition – in which the Cazalets have thrived. Louise, now divorced, becomes entangled in a painful affair; while Polly and Clary must balance marriage and motherhood with their own ideas and ambitions. Hugh and Edward, now in their sixties, are feeling ill-equipped for this modern world; while Villy, long abandoned by her husband, must at last learn to live independently. But it is Rachel, who has always lived for others, who will face her greatest challenges yet. Events converge at Christmas; as a new generation of Cazalets descend on Home Place. Only one thing is certain: nothing will ever be the same again.
If you like Cazalet Chronicles, you may also want to see our Poldark reading order, or our guide to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.