Brothers at Arms by Jemima Brigges
The story of a friendship, which began in Shropshire during the Pre-Regency era (1794 - 1802). Tom Norbery's decision, to bring two orphaned children to live at Linmore Hall, changes the life of his son, Joshua, for the better. It does not make his older brother less aggressive, or his mother kinder, but for the first time in his life Joshua has a friend. Someone to talk with, share his adventures and best of all his ambition to be a soldier. All he has to do is accept Charlie Cobarne's little sister, which at the time does not seem too much to ask. But Sophie, unlike other girls in the Linmore household, disdains female refinements in favour of masculine hunting pursuits at which she excels. She challenges her brother and Joshua to prove her mettle, until Charlie agrees that she can follow the drum when they join the army. In so doing, she binds their friendship together, but her continuing presence causes the once strong bond between the young men to become a recipe for misunderstandings. Changing family circumstances force Sophie to conceive a plan of which she is sure Charlie will approve - knowing that Joshua always agrees with her brother. Single minded in her determination to keep them together, Sophie little realises the far-reaching consequences for them, and Linmore, if her plans should go awry. Or who, if she pushes them to the limit, has most to lose? The first part of an interlinking series about the landed gentry and working classes at a time when the Napoleonic Wars rumble on in the background, and life, with its family feuds and intrigues, continues in a rural England coping with the changes of the Agricultural Revolution. A coming of age story.