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Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton #1)

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  1,560 ratings  ·  354 reviews
One house, two worlds...

Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies' maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can't help but wonde
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 22nd 2013 by Disney-Hyperion (first published January 3rd 2013)
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Asteropê It goes by both titles and both are correct.

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It goes by both titles and both are correct.

Cinders & Sapphires is the title used by Disney-Hyperion, the main US publisher for the book. The others use Secrets & Sapphires. (less)
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Secrets & Sapphires (aka Cinders & Sapphires in the US) is a delicious read full of intrigue and scandal!

After a decade spent in India the Averley family are returning to Somerton. Lord Averley is to be wed to Fiona Templeton and this means that his children, Ada and Georgina, have to learn to adjust and get along with their new step-siblings - the cruel and ambitious Charlotte, mischievous Sebastian and boisterous Matthew. Ada longs to study at Oxford, but her father would rather see he
By almost any measure, Cinders and Sapphires is not a good book. Think Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey, heavy emphasis on Gossip Girl. In fact, the British period setting is the only aspect even remotely reminiscent of Downton Abbey. Yeah. Total train wreck right there. That said, sometimes a book will be so bad that it's good, and for me Cinders and Sapphires is such a book - so hilariously over the top terrible that I ended up actually liking it.

So what's wrong right? Basically, this is a book
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: History, romance, upstairs, downstairs, responsibility.

If you like Downton Abbey, you'll love this. I did. Secrets and Sapphires nicely filled up that empty gaping hole that's been sat inside of me while I wait for series five.

I loved the intrigue and the lifestyle and even the class system. I loved the whole upstairs, downstairs relationships and how Rose was so torn by how those relationships were starting to change. She's such a loyal and proper young girl, such a gem of a character.
Es war schon sehr oberflächlich und man wusste nach drei Kapiteln, wie alles enden wird xD
Jun 22, 2012 Becca marked it as to-read
Please please please be better than Wentworth Hall. It's probably not possible for it to be better than Downton Abbey, but AT LEAST be better than Wentworth Hall!
Aug 16, 2012 Ksenia added it
Holy moly, what a fun book to read. If you need something to tide you over until the next season of Downton Abbey, this is it. The drama unfolds like a soap opera and can be a bit silly/ridiculous, but it is still a fun romp. I'm happily awaiting the next installment.
There were some likeable characters, the writing was decent, and it had moments where it really explored things like women's rights, class issues, and the problems of India under British rule. Unfortunately this was buried under the other things: over the top scandals and drama, the "bad" characters, and my favorite, the insta-love. One of the main characters seems willing to risk everything after what, 3 conversations, a handful of kisses, and a few letters?

A few people compared this to Downto
Emma Rogers
I still don't know what to think. But I do think I disliked this book. I thought everyone was much too in love (about 90% of the total characters were in love with someone, often with little foundation for said "love") and much too serious. So many characters are nasty it left me with a sour feeling in my stomach while reading. I like this era and the characters could be solid foundations for more but they're sorely lacking. I thought Ada was almost stupid and immature at points and the love for ...more
Kristine Pratt
NetGalley's 13 chapter preview was certainly not enough - and leaves you hanging in the most awkward of places. Whew! Where to begin on this one.

Having just gotten though a handful of Austen novels, I can see the influence upon this writer. Think of this as a cross between Pride and Prejudice, Upstairs Downstairs, and a bit of Downtown Abbey thrown in for good measure. Meaning if you love vintage pieces, with lots of characters from varying levels of society, you'll enjoy this one.

The story move
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

The year is 1910, the place the grand estate of Somerton. Lady Ada, her younger sister Georgina and her father, Lord Westlake, have left India amidst whispers of scandal and disgrace - Lord Westlake has resigned from his post without explanation, inciting the worst possible rumor-mongering - and return to Britain for the first time in many years. Despite the hints of scandal that follow them to Somerton, it is a happy return for the Averleys as Ada's fath
It is unkind to compare a book to a tv show that it is technically not related to, but when the plot is so heavily formulaic and predictable, it is difficult to think of it as anything other than a weak copycat attempt to ride the waves of the said tv show's fame. I feel as if the writer sat down and said, "Let's write a dumb-downed version of Downton Abbey completely stripped of the shows societal and political implications for those teenage girls who aren't interested in anything but romance." ...more
It wouldn't be a lie to say that I wanted to read this because of the cover and its obvious Downton Abbey inspiration, but it also wouldn't be a lie to say I probably would never have actively sought this out, because of those things, and becausereasons. But when its pretty self showed up* in my mailbox before Christmas, luring me in the packets of Walkers shortbread and Twinings English Breakfast tea - well, frankly it was just too tempting a scene to pass up. So picture me, curled up on th
3.5/5 stars.

As a fan of well done historicals, I eagerly dove into Cinders & Sapphires. I was expecting drama and scandal, mostly revolving around the two characters mentioned in the summary, Rose and Ada. And we definitely get that, in spades. But I wasn't expecting all the other stories going on in this book. Pretty much every character mentioned, from Ada's family members, to her father's new wife and her children, to the household staff, have some sort of point of view moment in this boo
Wart *Rainbows, beauty, and death* Hill
2.5 stars not rounded up because the ending *headdesk*

That was frustrating.

I liked most of the characters. And the writing is very good and the setting and historicalness is all wonderful.

but this book frustrated me to no end.

I full on hated Stella, Fiona, and Charlotte. And Tobias and Martha were little two dimensional minions dancing on puppet strings with Stella controlling them. They hate Rose because ~reasons~ (according to Tobias she puts on airs, which she really and clearly doesn't...).
Review to come. I actually read a brief snippet of this book as provided from Disney Hyperion on NetGalley. I really wish it'd been the full book, so that I could've had a better grasp on the plot details, and that affected my enjoyment of this selection, but what little I read was a decent periodic story. Hopefully I can expand upon the preview in further reflection.
I highly enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction set in the 1912 era, where the material focuses on the rich and their servants. It's obviously for and about teens, but that doesn't bother me. It's also obvious that there are a lot of books like this being pumped out for both teens and adults.

Due to the summary on the book flap, I was expecting the story to be mainly about Rose, but it wasn't. Ada was the focus, and I don't feel there was enough of Rose.

Luci Davin
The servants are all rushing around trying to get the house in order, as Lord Westlake and his family are on their way back from India.

It is 1910. Secrets & Sapphires is the first in the At Somerton series, set in the country home of an Edwardian aristocratic family. The story is written for teenagers, and the main characters are two young girls, Lady Ava Averley and her maid, Rose.

Secrets & Sapphires is an enjoyable read, with quite a large cast of characters and several storylines. Ada

Source: Received an ARC from Jen Ryland/YA Romantics

Wow-this book basically has everything! It has so many of the plotlines from "Downton Abbey" and similar stories, all jam-packed into a very easy reading style. I polished this book off very fast and felt quite accomplished as I've been a bit behind on my reading goals.

Since I mostly liked the book, I'm just going to point out a few criticisms, not to be a downer but in order to be more balanced. The book is narrated in third-person past t
Historical YA and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. It's mostly hate because I've only ever found one that I absolutely loved (Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl) but I can happily add Cinders & Sapphires as the second book to this list because I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. At all.

Fifty pages in, I worried that the story wouldn't really pick up at all but it's like the book read my mind because after that .. CRAZINESS. When all of the other characters and subplots were intro
Bekah AwesomeBookNut
I was sooo forward to reading this, especially since I kept hearing that if you like Downton Abby, you'll like this! well... I enjoyed it! It was a little TOO much like Downton Abby right down to even having a gay character side story.

What was fun about this (especially if you like Downton Abby) is that you get a fun story that includes EVERYBODY, some servants, the household and friends. It was well written and would've been well thought out if Downton Abby hadn't come out first. It had an ea
I’m a fan of period film and television in general. I love all the various adaptations of Jane Austen’s books and my favorite movie is The Age of Innocence with Daniel Day-Lewis. Downton Abbey is my new favorite. I love the costumes, the intrigue, and the upstairs/downstairs intersecting storylines between the lives of the servants and the wealthy elite they serve.

Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed is a young adult novel made for Downton Abbey fans.

The blurb focuses on Rose, a servant at S
Kirsty (overflowing library)

I will admit this book came to me at probably the right time. I broke my leg August bank holiday weekend and had been filling the days in the month since doing it with marathon DVD sessions and I happened to start Downton Abbey and ended up watching every single episode available back to back and then as chance would happen I picked this book up purely based on release date without reading the cover and suddenly low and behold I had a version of what I had seen on the screen in my hands which wa
4.5 Stars

Finally, authors and publishers are catching on to the Downton Abbey trend! Many readers are starved to read more stories about the glittering era in which Downton is set, and finally more books are being published about this time and setting. Is it jumping on the bandwagon? Sure, but I am glad for it, and hope there are more to come. This book fits the bill for readers wanting more of this type of story.

At first, I will admit that I wasn't getting into the story. There was a prologue (
Alice in Readerland
Review originally posted on ALICE IN READERLAND ( For the first time in a long while, Lady Ada, her sister, and her father are returning to Somerton estate from India, though this time they’re also bringing along a new difficult step-family, new servants, and of course, plenty of secrets.

For the servants already working at Somerton, the surprise arrival (and additions of people) means working harder in the house as well as working harder to keep secrets. For Rose, a maid a
Rose and her mother work in at Somerton Court, a stately home filled with rooms and chores to keep a person busy for days. Upon the return of the Earl of Westlake discoveries are made and mystery abounds when a new wife and children envelope Somerton Court and fill the place with intrigue and desperation. Rose had never imagined that that her life may turn so far upside down, or that her mother may have a hidden secret until the interest of the Earl gets the better of her. Rose has never dug dee ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life

(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).

It is pre-WWI and things at Somerton are brewing. Lord Westlake's heir and nephew is bleeding the funds dry and Westlake's return from India is tainted with malicious rumours. He is forced to remarry for money and reputation. His new wife brings with her a daughter, Charlotte, and two sons, Sebastian and Michael. His own daughters Lady Ada and Georgina try to welcome the Templetons but are met with resistant from their st
What I knew about Secrets and Sapphires before it arrived? “DOWNTON ABBEY meets GOSSIP GIRL” I haven’t watched either show but I’ve been reading a lot of historical fiction lately and this fit right in.

The two things that stuck with me after finishing the book were; the writing and how busy the story is. Leila Rasheed has a descriptive style, without drowning the reader is too much detail. You are guided through the story at a good pace and get to know most of the characters really well.

Most of
Book Angel Emma
Review by Beth 3.5/5

Secrets and Sapphires is a novel which all lovers of Downton Abbey will fall head over heels for. I’m not a fan of the TV show but this doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the novel. The story has all the backstabbing, twists and turns and gossipy rumours you could dream of and is the perfect way of introducing the early 20th century to younger readers.

This novel didn’t shock me exactly but it was refreshing to see a novel set in 1910 dealing with some pretty heavy issues that are of
Fans of Downton Abbey are sure to relish in this fascinating new series that highlights life in luxurious London at an estate called Somerton. Lady Ada and her family have just returned back to London, England from India at the beginning of this novel, when Ada’s father announces his plans to remarry again to the elegant, prestigious Mrs. Templeton. Everyone in the manor is shocked by the news but understands that Mr. Averley needs the good name and fortune of Mrs. Templeton in order to save wha ...more
Alise  (Readers in Wonderland)
Cinders & Sapphires Review
Full formatting of this review at link above.

So. Many. Characters.

That was my first thought going through those first chapters, and even late on when they were reintroduced and you were expected to remember them. Not to mention each of them have two names, their name, then their title. The family tree drawn in the beginning was a necessity, so I recommend getting really familiar with it. I just wish i
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 17, 2015 10:36AM  
  • Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor, #1)
  • Tarnish
  • Belle Epoque
  • Delusion
  • VIII
  • Palace of Spies (Palace of Spies, #1)
  • Starstruck (Starstruck, #1)
  • Summerset Abbey (Summerset Abbey, #1)
  •  The Fire Horse Girl
  • The Heiresses (The Heiresses, #1)
  • Strands of Bronze and Gold
  • Violins of Autumn
  • The Ruining
  • Wentworth Hall
  • The Beautiful and the Cursed (The Dispossessed, #1)
  • Vengeance Bound
  • A Spark Unseen (The Dark Unwinding, #2)
  • Catherine
Leila Rasheed has gained an MA in both Children's Literature and Creative Writing. She started work at Reading Is Fundamental, a children's literacy charity, before moving to Belgium. Leila now works as the children's bookseller for Waterstone's in Brussels.
More about Leila Rasheed...

Other Books in the Series

At Somerton (3 books)
  • Diamonds and Deceit (At Somerton, #2)
  • Emeralds & Ashes (At Somerton, #3)
Diamonds and Deceit (At Somerton, #2) Chips, Beans and Limousines: The Fantastic Diary of Bathsheba Clarice de Trop! (The Diaries of Bathsheba Clarice de Trop, #1) Socks, Shocks and Secrets: The Spectacular Second Diary of Bathsheba Clarice de Trop (The Diaries of Bathsheba Clarice de Trop, #2) Emeralds & Ashes (At Somerton, #3) Doughnuts, Dreams and Drama Queens: The Theatrical Third Diary of Bathsheba Clarice de Trop! (The Diaries of Bathsheba Clarice de Trop, #3)

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