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The Secret Heiress

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A fabled house. A fabulous fortune. Beautiful, identical twins...

Dark shadows fall across the golden summer of 1886. Naive country girl Ida Garfield longs to escape the farm and when Miss Matilda Gregory, the elegant mistress of Summersby House, offers Ida employment as a housemaid, Ida leaps at the chance. Yet it’s not for her servant’s skills that she’s wanted.

It’s her i
Paperback, 422 pages
Published April 1st 2016 by Simon and Schuster Au
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  172 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Australian author? Check
Gothic setting? Check
Twins? Check
Manor house? Check
Servants? Check
Inheritance? Check

The six elements mentioned above make for a very enjoyable read and those who love seeing these topics penned in any Kate Morton novel, will enjoy this offering by fellow Australian author Luke Devenish.

The Secret Heiress is a deeply layered mystery set in central Victoria in two time frames with two main characters, Ida in 1880s and Biddy in the 1900s.

The mystery kept me guessing and the
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it

The Secret Heiress is An Australian Gothic novel by Luke Devenish a relatively new genre for me.

I found it to be a refreshing read, something new and exciting and with all the underlying factors one would expect within a gothic novel I found it delivered.

I was not disappointed.

Doom, inheritance, darkness, mystery, two beautiful women, mysterious men, past, and old buildings. The tone of the story is well presented throughout the book, giving the reader that Gothic feel .

The Secret Heiress c
Maureen Doig
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A little hard to get into at first, but then kept trying to make the connections between the chapters. challenging , a good read and all the answers in the end@!!
Monique Mulligan
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Secrets, mystery lies, betrayal, deception, an inheritance, a love triangle and a confounding mystery are at the heart of The Secret Heiress – all elements I love to find in a book. The dual narrative explores the mystery in two different generations – Ida’s perspective alternates with her daughter Biddy’s. There’s also the upstairs-downstairs element that adds a bit more depth – the mystery involves them all, rather than the upper class only.

Despite the sense of foreboding that was established
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this rather a lot. Described as Australian gothic, it's a very entertaining story of deception. The story jumps back and forward between the 1880s and 1904-ish at the beautiful Summersby House, a rural residence in Castlemaine, Victoria. Devenish gives us a plot full of twists and layers of deception that even if you can't keep up with at times, still delivers because the story has two delightful vivid main characters, both servants. Ida is taken on as a housemaid at Summersby, Miss Ma ...more
Elisabeth Bibbings
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For lovers of country-house drama and mysteries, here is one with that Aussie twist - cheeky servants and people who won't stop asking questions! This plot twists and twists again, and even when we've sorted out who the Secret Heiress is, there's still another surprise in store.
Told from the view of Ida the housemaid and Biddy her daughter, it tells of twin sisters, a beautiful house, and those who will give anything to possess house and a lovely girl's heart - but which girl?
I've filed it on m
Tracie Griffith
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Knowing Mr Devenish's ability to weave a plot around the dichotomy of good/evil twins, I knew I was in for a great read - and he didn't disappoint. What can I say without inadvertently creating a spoiler? Loved the language, the humour, the characterisation and the setting of historical Castlemaine. Aren't small town's delightful? And I also love leading female characters with the name Bridget!! ...more
Nikki Haskell
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I actually really enjoyed this book. A few times i got confused but still i didn't care i didn't want the book to end ...more
Julie Cohen
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017, top-rated
I really enjoyed this book. An intriguing mystery flicking between time periods with plenty to keep me coming back for more. Very readable, even if it may not be very memorable over time. A pleasantly enjoyable mystery set in late 19th/early 20th century Victoria.
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
A throughly enjoyable gothic mystery, set in Australia.
Reminds me of the Victoria Holt novels I read many,many yeas ago!
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book couldn't put it down . Intrigue, drama, deceptions, family secrets through generations are all wound together in a great story. ...more
Zoe Whiting
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Devenish took the reader on an interesting journey across two generations. Good character development meant it was easy to flirt between the two eras without getting to lost. From a historical perspective he had clearly done is research as the changes where mentioned and noticeable across the two generations. Unfortunately I picked the ending (which I won't spoil) which made me feel a little disappointed. Well written a few red herrings wouldn't have gone astray. ...more
Rex Brampton
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has many extraordinary historical facts that will surprise you. If you loved Wuthering Heights, Gaslight, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, and The Patty Duke Show you will like this. Undoubtedly this is the best Historical Romance written by a Castlemaine author I have read this year.
In this Australian gothic novel two young women 17 years apart, find themselves entangled in the mystery that surrounds the inhabitants of Summersby House.
The story is told in alternating viewpoints as we start with Ida and then switch to Biddy.
We start in 1886 with Ida, young, impressionable and highly inquisitive is about to commence employment at the most prestigious property in Castlemaine, Victoria. What Ida perceives to be a wonderful new career in housekeeping to work with a Mistress, w
Sharon J
Thank you to Netgalley and publisher Simon & Schuster (Australia) for an ebook copy to read and review.

The story starts with Ida who commences work as a housemaid for Miss Matilda Gregory at Summersby House near Castlemaine in north central Victoria of Australia in 1886 and moves back and forth from that date to the year 1903 where we have Biddy who has escaped to the countryside from Melbourne and finds herself at Summersby House as well. Strange and unusual happenings emerge as we find out mor
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Whilst relatively new to the"Gothic" genre, I found this multi layered, multi period Australian family saga engaging. With a nice balance of characters, the story twists and turns through the histroical time periods. Whilst at times I had difficulty distinguishing between the twins in the earlier period, feel this was more about the other distractions in my life at the time and not a reflection on the engaging writing style of the author.

It was refreshingly enjoyable to read of Australian locati
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely revelling in this novel each word imprints the scene into my mind and the undercurrents are fabulously revealed. What a masterpiece, what an excellent writer! I will be gleefully seeking more novels from Luke Devenish.
I've finished the book and marvelled at how the author kept pace with all the tooing and froing, the story jumps about in leaps and bounds and builds to an exciting ending before continuing on with those extra little bits of insight that answers questions that you've al
Lisa Neilson
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An amazingly, well-written and expertly crafted novel. I throughly enjoyed everything about this book; the characters, the history and the relationships throughout. Throughly recommend this book and I look forward to reading more books by this incredibly talented author.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My God! This book! ❤ This is the kind of book you sit at work thinking about itching to get home to read, the kind of book that keeps you up well past your bedtime. I enjoyed this immensely and feel sad it is now over
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was a bit of an odd read but came together in the end.
Talk about suspense - this book has it in spades! All the pieces of the puzzle seem to appear before you, but putting them together is always just tantalisingly out of reach. When it all finally comes together, it downs on you slowly and then all of a sudden you are confronted with the terrible reality of what has happened in this mysterious house.

To be frank though, I thought to story of Biddy lacked the depth of Ida's - I felt Ida's story better developed, and (strangely, given what was happen
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Confusing to read, I had thought what was happening in the house (when Ida) was what was happening (hard to write without giving the plot away), but the parts with Bridie I didn't click onto until the end (so was a twist for me).

I enjoyed the story, but did find it confusing to read, especially been split into Ida's story and then Bridie's story, the chapters were really long too, and the you're not Matilda your Margaret bits hard to keep up with.

First time I have read a book from this author. S
Trish at Between My Lines
Abandoned early on in the book, as I just wasn't feeling it.

Star rating based on what I actually did read and it reflects my lack of enthusiasm for reading on. That said, it might have improved if I had persevered.
Melissa Bell
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alison Foley
Enjoyed the setting, liked the characters... but found the plot a little convoluted.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, ham-library
Found it a little confusing but that could have been the audio version.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Dropped after two chapters. Found the main character very annoying
Gail Newton
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-2018
Loved it - worth a read
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
I was eager to delve into the pages of this beautiful piece of Australian gothic fiction by Luke Devenish. Gothic fiction is a genre I really enjoy and it was a refreshing change to see a novel released written by a male author and an Australian. The Secret Heiress contains a comprehensive list of key ingredients that are essential to gothic fiction – a grandiose house, a setting with brooding undertones, a mystery to unlock, an inheritance to claim, inquisitive servants and the added layer of a ...more
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Luke Devenish lives with his partner and pets in the historic town of Castlemaine, in the heart of the beautiful Goldfields region of Victoria, Australia. Originally from Western Australia, where he often returns, Luke grew up in the Perth Hills where he attended Eastern Hills Senior High School and Curtin University in the 1980s. He moved to Melbourne to pursue writing opportunities in 1988 and h ...more

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