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Sea of Secrets

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  458 ratings  ·  74 reviews
After her brother is killed in the Crimean War, innocent young Oriel Pembroke finds herself alone in the world. Disowned by the cruel father who has always despised her, she has nowhere to turn until she is taken under the wing of a glamorous relative she never knew: the former Duchess of Ellsworth, who has scandalized society by remarrying soon after her first husband’s d ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published 2012 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  458 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book!

I enjoyed this one... Some parts I would've maybe liked to see happen differently but overall thought it was full of good writing, interesting characters (who were pretty mysterious), intrigue, & a great gothic-type ambience. It was easy to read and follow, a good book to follow up a more "deep" or "heavy" one. I'll definitely try others by her.
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gothic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristin Anders
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it

Rating 3.5 Stars

How are the sex scenes?

What sex? There is only kissing, but I did not want for any bedroom action.
Sex doesn't fit this story and Amanda made the right choice in excluding it.

How are the story lines?

A clever treat is in store for readers. It's excellent and I was so pleased when I figured it out. Amanda explains it all in her Author's Note at the end of the book.


"Sea of Secrets" by Amanda DeWees is set between 1853 - 1856 along the English coast.

Oriel is a character to fall

Reviewed By BlackTulip for Confessions from Romaholics

The blurb seemed fantastic, so I was more than ready to love this book but unfortunately, I didn't; I wanted to like it, but I simply couldn't !

This novel is based partly on a famous Shakespeare play and has the flavor of some 19th century British writers like the Bronte sisters and as a tribute to them, it 's certainly well done. This being said, that's not what I was hoping for ... and the result is a big disappointment, utterly frustrating
This novel was so disappointing! I was intrigued at the idea of reading (actually listening to) a retelling of Hamlet, but this book was so slow, it dragged so much!. No real fact actually took place until the very last chapters. It was all talk talk talk, endless talk! Where was the promised suspense? And even forgetting that I disliked all the main characters involved:
Herron wasn’t to me a tormented romantic hero but a rude boy who behaved childishly and at a certain point even like a psychopa
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is not my typical read, however I am glad I had the pleasure to read it. Oriel has been somewhat raised by her evil worthless father. After he disowns her she meets the Duchess, her Aunt, and is given a new life. After becoming friends with Herron and trying to help him she realizes he is not her soulmate. However his step-brother/cousin Charles could be. Great story that keeps you guessing and hoping for a miracle. This is more of a historical /dramatic romance, however there are no intima ...more
InD'tale Magazine
Amanda DeWees's got gothic!! Written with lush and intelligent prose, DeWees has crafted a beautiful and suspenseful novel that is a pure pleasure to read!

Read full review in the 2012 September issue of InD’tale Magazine.
Beth Chamberlain
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For a complete review check out the next issue of InD'Tale online magazine! ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I can't understand why Amanda DeWees' books aren't more popular... These are the books I turn to when I can't figure out what to read or I'm in a reading rut. They are the perfect balance of gothic/spooky and dreamy/romantic.

I didn't love this one as much as I've loved some of her others - (*cough cough* Herron was the worst character ever) - but I did very much enjoy it. (view spoiler)
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oriel Pembroke having been disowned by her father seeks out her newly discovered relations. The Duchess of Ellsworth. But as her new family settle at Ellsmere, she wonders is there a murderer residing there, and who could it be. Herron, the new young Duke believes so.
An enjoyable Victorian gothic mystery and romance.
J.M. Klees
A book about some truly silly people
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just loved the mystery, it keeps you guessing till the end<3 And even at the end it leaves it open to interpretation.
The Book Maven
Oriel has never understood her father's unaccountable contempt for her, but after her brother Lionel is killed in the Crimean War, it ceases to matter: her father disowns her, casts her off, and gives her a mere month to secure her future. It's only the intervention of a previously unknown aunt--a rformer duchess, no less--that keeps Oriel from a state of obscure poverty.

Swept up into her new family, whisked away to their seaside manor, treated with more kindness and generosity than she's ever k
Zed Whisper
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Hunter
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My review for Sea of Secrets written by Amanda DeWees
I was given this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review.
I was immediately captured and sucked into this 1800s gothic novel centered on young Oriel Pembroke. The loss and sadness she experienced at such a young age is tragic and unimaginable. She loses her brother to the war and shortly after is abandoned by her father who was her sole provider at the time. Just when she thought all hope was loss, she finds herself at the estate of whe
Autum (Escape between the Covers)
This book is about Oriel Pembroke who has just recently lost her beloved brother, in the Crimean War. He had been the joy in her life, and the buffer between her and the father who hated her. Then as if loosing her brother was not enough her father disowns her(though maybe that may have not been so bad) but in the process leaves her with nothing. But Oriel is a smart young lady, and does some investigation learns she has some family on her mothers side. She then appeals to her aunt to see if she ...more
Tina Nelson
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-challenge
I was giving a copy of this book by the wonderful Author Amanda DeWees, thank you for that.

I am never one to like to write about the book itself, just because I feel I would give away to much I always like to review with my own thoughts.
That being said,
I Loved this book, I think it's beautifully written and I had no problems at all to picture all the characters as described.
Oriel is such a quiet young woman, I really felt sorry for her being treated rather like a rapid dog then a human being. I
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it
So what do I think of "Sea of Secrets "?

"Bother Herron"!

Two words mentioned in the book that I couldn't agree with more. (Herron is the 'hero ' ~I use that term loosely ~ and I found him a petulant child who needed a good kick in the pants for most of the story)

In many ways this book was very good. The writing is good and the characters well drawn. It is written much like the gothics of old which I enjoy. Also I was glad that the author didn't stick to the old formula of 'dark brooding hero tr
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
4.5 stars. Very entertaining. I now want to go back and reread Northanger Abbey and Jane Eyre. Gothic stories are so much fun.

I don't know what her editor was talking about, claiming that the story strayed too far from Hamlet. While the author does not slavishly follow the source material, the major elements of the plot are blatantly there for anyone to see. Personally, I think her story is much stronger and her characters much more likeable than Shakespeare's. I did have some difficulty relatin
Christoph Fischer
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by a friend but must say I had no idea what a fantastic treat was in store for me. "Sea of Secrets" is a moody and wonderfully dark psychological tale set in the 1850s, reminiscent of Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and apparently Hamlet.
The language used it written in such an amazing appropriate and authentic English, it is hard to believe the novel should have been written in modern day.
The story of a semi-orphaned young woman taking a position with remote family i
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, january, 2017
Disclaimer: the author gifted me this book with no expectation of a review in exchange. But here I am.

I adore DeWees' novels. They are always a sumptuous, atmospheric delight, full of period details (her clothing descriptions alone are worth the price of admission) and gorgeous prose, and she is a true master of gothic romance. This book follows the story of Oriel, a quiet, intelligent, and self-reliant woman who is disowned by her cruel father and finds herself taken in by her dead mother's fam
Megan Walters
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for historical fiction, if not so much for romance. This happens to be the first book published by a personal friend of mine -- Amanda DeWees. I admit that although I was excited to read it, I was also a little worried it might not be great, and then I'd be in the awkward position of trying to seem really enthusiastic. I needn't have worried. This was a great read. I was immediately engaged by the lead character, Oriel. After that, it unfolded perfectly. I hated putting this down, a ...more
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amanda DeWess has done it AGAIN. Captured me into yet another book-a different book, but yet--amazing! I love a good adventure to what feels like another world, and this certainly is that. I felt like I could relate to some of what Oriel was feeling (ps-LOVE that name! If I were to have future children-I could see that being in the running) and how she was left, and especially the father! How ironic that the family is going through things and she has to find a way to cope through it, but in turn ...more
Pauline Creeden
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although I love reading Austen, Bronte, and the classics, I have never found a book that engendered the same fondness within me as this one. The house by the sea, the tragic deaths of family members, the abused/neglected heroine, and a mystery as well. This enthralling read had me avoiding my household chores just to keep turning pages. The author’s lyrical use of prose and symbolism kept me firmly fixed in the characters’ world, so that I could hear the crashing waves of the shore, though I liv ...more
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
VERY Disappointed. After reading the Ash Grove Chronicles, I became very interested in reading more books by this author. However, almost mid way through the book, I felt like I was reading a modern retelling of Hamlet. A very boring one at that with the name changes ( from hamlet to herron, Ophelia to Oriel, and Claudius to Claude), and the tone was very similar in being a bit gothic.
The other thing is that, the author barely described things, and the whole time I was just like Show me don't j
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a way to start a new year. I loved this gothic novel. It had lots of suspense, and romance, and a compelling story. There is danger at the center of the book that keeps pushing you to turn the pages. Some one may want the new Duke Herron dead, now that his father is gone. Was his father also killed? Herron is a brooding character, and seems at odds with his whole family, including his new female cousin, who is trying to help, and protect him. There are many characters to not like, and more ...more
Amanda Orick
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Sea of Secrets by Amanda Dewees is a historical romance/mystery story. It follows a girl named Oriel who is plagued to live a life with her evil father after the death of her mother (as an infant) and her beloved brother Lionel. She goes to live with her mothers side of the family when her father disowns her and finds herself in a new sort of drama. Will her life ever sort itself out?
I really enjoyed this book! I felt that the cover was captaviating as well as the story itself. I just couldn't
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Barbara Michaels and other gothic novels
I love a good gothic novel- the carefully crafted suspense, the secrets held closely by everyone in the house, and a sweet young heroine caught up in all of the drama.

Sea of Secrets was everything I wanted it to be. There are parallels to another story I love (and was pleased to read in the afterword that the author and I shared a teenage crush on the same literary figure), but DeWees puts her own flair into the story. She pulls it all together beautifully in the end, and I would have to say tha
Eskimo Princess Jenkins
Once I started reading this, I got hooked. Very hooked. This book has so much going for it: Romance, historical setting, mystery, murder, a little touch of Gothic, and of course scandal!
I won't ruin anything for you. So I will tell you my thoughts.
I loved how the Duchess could overcome and stay calm in all the situations. Amazing.
Oriel, she was tougher, smarter, and prettier than she thought
Herron: learned a lot at the end and made peace with everyone.
Oriel's father: got what he deserved.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Mar 11, 2015 05:58PM  

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Amanda DeWees received her PhD in English from the University of Georgia and wrote her dissertation on 19th-century vampire literature—the perfect training, although she didn’t know it at the time, for writing Victorian gothic romance novels. Her books include With This Curse, winner of the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award in historical mystery/suspense. Her other passions include costuming, movies, C ...more

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