Annabelle's Reviews > Wentworth Hall

Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame
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Jun 11, 12

Read from June 09 to 11, 2012

I'm a huge fan of British period dramas, especially Downton Abbey and when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. It promised the secrets and scandals like in the TV show and the book didn't disappoint. The reader views everyone as a suspect, the mystery hangs in the air, the culprit just out of reach from the reader, after all it could be anybody. The author, Abby Grahame brilliantly makes everyone a suspect, they all have their good points and bad points which makes it harder to point out who was the one behind the mysterious satires in the local paper. The mystery is brilliantly woven through the pages of the novel leaving the reader grasping for clues, so they can make their own assumptions. It was a total hoot reading this book. It was like watching a mystery play out in front of you and you were the detective who had to find the culprit among many suspects, It was brilliant!


Wentworth Hall is home to the Darlington family. Secrets and Scandals whisper through the halls, everyone has something to hide. Maggie returns home from a trip to France, she's been gone a year and now she's grown up and she's as cold as ever. Her younger Sister Lila has been left in the shadows all alone. Nora, the maid is full of gossip and always has her ears ready to listen and get the scoop. Therese the french maid, has a secret of her own. One that could rip the family apart. With so many secrets flying around, it won't be long until the truth is revealed, changing the world the Darlingtons are used to.


The characters were all well fleshed out, each had their mystery backgrounds that will be revealed throughout the novel. Grahame perfectly writes about the gap between different classes and how it affects different peoples lives and how they react to one another. Maggie is who we originally think is the snobby older sister who looks down her nose at everybody but we soon realise that underneath it all she's trying to keep a secret under wraps and it's hard. Inside she's hurting and can't cope much longer. We begin to see how the some of the upper classes had to put on big smiles when really things weren't ever as good as they seemed. Lila, is the younger sister and probably my favourite character. She's the third child always left in the shadows of her siblings. She's treated like a child but she wants to grow up. She struggles to try and make her parents see she is no longer a child. She's ready to become apart of the world and she won't stay in the shadows forever. Her story, even today is very similar to what many people go through. Lots of people have felt stuck in somebodies shadow as the other gets all the limelight. I didn't like the maid Nora, She was such a gossip and although she was friendly with the girls, there was always something off with her for me. Therese the maid is also quiet but her secret is as big as them all, one step out of line and she would be sent packing. This was her last chance. There were many other characters who were equally impressive but I won't ramble on about them.


Instead I shall talk about the period, 1912 which has always been interesting to me. Although we do see it shine in the novel, it wasn't enough as I hoped. I wanted a grand mansion that was at the top of it's game, not a mansion that was falling apart because the family had money problems. I was slightly disappointed with the house, it wasn't as elegantly described as I expected, at all. On the other hand the girls dresses were always described in so much detail it got slightly confusing. I personally thought the year itself, could have shined a lot more in the novel. Alas we did get the problems with the social classes and scandals that could ruin a family but that period in time was full of so much more. For a small example the Titanic, it was mentioned once. At the time it was huge, it had such an impact, I'm sure it would have hit home more. I'm also a slight history geek so many other readers probably won't care about that.


Apart from that Wentworth Hall is a very enjoyable read, full of mystery and suspense that leaves the reader guessing until the very end. It was also a rather easy read, so if you want a light historical YA read this will be perfect. I enjoyed it a lot and would recommend it to all younger fans of Downton Abbey and similar programs. It truly is a great debut novel, the author transports the reader into Wentworth Hall where the reader walks alongside the characters viewing everyone as a suspect. The twists I didn't even see coming. Thinking about it now I probably could have twigged but I didn't, It's written perfectly so anyone is left guessing until the end. I loved it, it's a great YA historical novel, that will leave the teens wanting to prance around in frilly dresses, waiting for their own happily ever after.
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06/10/2012 page 60
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