Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore      
Release Date - January 28, 2014
Publisher Website - Scholastic
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.
An author's talent can be displayed in many ways. My favourite is when an author writes something a little different than their previous works, and still manages to captivate the reader. With Manor of Secrets, Katherine Longshore, manages to entertain with a much more lighthearted, fun read that is filled with delicious secrets.

Katherine's knack for creating a setting that perfectly captures the time frame of the story is once again spot on. She effortlessly brings every aspect of the manor to life. She manages to make the novel feel both timeless, and historical. Part of it's charm is that has modern feel while still completely capturing the history.

This novel hinges on it's characters. It's a character driven plot, and all of the characters are wonderfully captured. With a plot that revolves around family, it was wonderful to see parents play such an active role in a young adult novel. The blending of friendship, family, and romance was perfectly managed. There is just enough of each to satisfy without any aspect of the novel taking over. It allows a balance that keeps the novel moving, and prevents the focus from wearing thin.

Both Charlotte and Janie want to create their own path. They both want something more than what they currently have. It's this yearning for betterment that grounds the story as relevant today. Finding yourself, determining who you are, is part of growing up. Following your own heart, rather than the wishes of someone else, is something everyone grapples with. Disappointing others, feeling selfish, scared, and unsure. All these feelings are part of leaving your teen years behind and setting off down your own path. It reminds us that even historical novels can shine a light on current social issues.

The twists, and secrets that come out are incredibly fun. There is one that, while I expected it, came about in the most unexpected way. The exact nature of the secret, and connection, manged to surprise me. It creates a dizzying, giddy last part to the novel that left a smile on my face.

Fans of Downton Abbey will immediately adore this book, but I think anyone will fall for it's charms. A well written, quaint tale of friendship, standing up for yourself, and taking that leap faith. It left me happy, content, and I eagerly anticipate any future novels Katherine Longshore writes as her skill only continues to improve.

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