January 16, 2014
Review: Manor of Secrets
Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore
Release date: January 28, 2014
This book was an ARC provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .
Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.
Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions.
Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.
The Good: I ended up, for the most part, liking the characters. Charlotte was intelligent and kind. Janie was hardworking and resourceful. I liked Andrew Broadhurst and Harry. I loved the scene where Charlotte was teaching Janie to dress hair and how Charlotte took Janie under her wing. I would've liked to see more of Charlotte's brothers; they were mentioned on multiple occasions but only appeared in the flesh a couple times.
The Bad: Since I read Cinders & Sapphires first (and it was released first), I couldn't help but compare the two books and Manor of Secrets seemed too similar to C&S. There's a big secret revealed towards the end that felt a little too similar to the secret in C&S. The whole upstairs-downstairs in English aristocracy is already feeling overdone because of all the books springing off the popularity of Downton Abbey. This one didn't wow me. Also, the name of the estate bothered me. "The Manor"? Just "The Manor"? I believe the house needed to have an actual name, like Downton Abbey does. I also felt like some of the societal expectations were exaggerated and too many of the characters were catty and gossiped. A great majority of the servants were jerks. I also felt like Charlotte's and Janie's interests were bland and not very interesting.
The Ugly: No foul language. There's some not-so-great implications with that big secret.
The Verdict: It's not a fabulous read at all. At best, it's just okay. Cinders & Sapphires is a much better choice if you're looking for something set in the same era as Downton Abbey.