Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
The prettiest people often have the ugliest secrets…
Eighteen-year-old Maggie Darlington has turned into an entirely different person. The once spirited teen is now passive and reserved. A change Lord and Lady Darlington can’t help but be grateful for.
It’s 1912, and the Darlingtons of Wentworth Hall have more than just the extensive grounds to maintain. As one of Britain’s most elite families, they need to keep up appearances that things are as they have always been: even as their carefully constructed façade rapidly comes undone.
Maggie has a secret. And she’s not the only one: the handsome groom Michael, the beautiful new French nanny Therese, the Darlingtons’ teenage houseguests Teddy and Jessica, and even Maggie’s younger sister Lila are all hiding something. Passion, betrayal, heartache, and whispered declarations of love take place under the Darlingtons’ massive roof. And one of these secrets has the power to ruin the Darlingtons forever.
When scandalous satires start appearing in the newspaper with details that closely mirror the lives of the Darlingtons, everyone is looking over their shoulder, worrying their scandal will be next. Because at Wentworth Hall, nothing stays secret for long.
Because I have a slight obsession with Downton Abbey (who doesn’t really :P), I was very excited to read this book as it is set in a similar setting. Although it wasn’t up to Downton Abbey‘s level, I did enjoy it (just not as much as I had hoped) but it would be easy to see why some wouldn’t.
The book reminded me a lot of Gossip Girl but the 1912 edition. It has an anonymous newspaper writer sharing all the gossip of the Darlingtons while the reader tries to sort out the truth about this mysterious family. The plot itself is more Downton Abbey in its approach and if you have watched the show, you will probably be able to see the parallels between characters and plots. It also reminded me of The Flappers Trilogy in the sense that it is told from multiple character POVs so you get to learn more about the characters and their thoughts.
I think the biggest disappointment I had with this book was the plot. It wasn’t as dramatic as I thought it was going to be (though for the time period the plot is rather “scandalous”) and having seen most of the plot on Downton Abbey and similar time-oriented pieces, nothing screamed originality to me.
The book ends with most of the plots being resolved (from what I remember) but I wish it was a series or had a sequel. I felt like there was a lot of potential to make this into a series with a lot more drama and twists but overall I was satisfied with the ending.
Truth be told, I can’t remember a lot of what happened as I read it in the summer of June 2012 but I do remember that there were a few twists that I didn’t see coming until I got farther into the story and more was revealed. Perhaps the fact that I can’t remember what else happened is an indication of some sort that this book isn’t overly memorable. However it was a good way to get a quick Upstairs Downstairs fix as you pass the time waiting for the next season of Downton Abbey. Those who do not enjoy petty gossip of the upper classes probably want to avoid this book as a whole.
Genre: Young Adult, Upstairs Downstairs, Romance, Drama
Recommended for: 16-21
Similar Reads: Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar (Gossip Girl #1) and Vixen by Jillian Larkin (The Flappers #1)