Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 1, 2012
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."
The Darlington family, one of Britain's most wealthy families, has many secrets. Maggie, the eldest daughter, spent some time abroad and has since come home a different girl. She used to be spunky, lively and adventurous, but now she's barely recognizable to many people at Wentworth Hall. Her younger sister, Lila, often feels overlooked and is looking to gain some attention this year. To make matters more complicated, family friends, Teddy and Jessica, move to Wentworth Hall since the are newly orphaned. They are rich, haughty and many people at Wentworth Hall feel they harbor their own dark secrets. The servants play a huge role in the story and of course, the gossip is only intensified through their eyes. Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame is an engaging historical debut that fans of Downton Abbey will love.
It comes as no surprise that I love Downton Abbey and have proclaimed my love many times. When I was asked to review Wentworth Hall, I immediately said yes as the comparisons to Downton Abbey were strong. Plus, I needed my fix since the season ended weeks ago. I am glad I did read Wentworth Hall, because it definitely filled that void and the whole upstairs/downstairs piece of the story is just as thrilling as I expected.
Although I found the character of Maggie to not be as likable as I had hoped for, her storyline was interesting. I could predict many of the plot twists, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment. Her relationship with the groom, Michael, is a delicious tale of forbidden love that ended up being one of my favorite parts. Another character that I really liked was Therese, the French nanny, whose secrets are just as dark as the wealthy elite. Lastly, I really liked Maggie's younger sister, Lila, who easily became one of my favorite characters. I always find myself rooting for the underdog or the family member that is often overlooked and is trying to find his/her way. Maybe she will be the focus in book two? *Fingers crossed*
Wentworth Hall was reminiscent of the Luxe series, which, if you know me, is a high compliment. Granted it isn't as scandalous as the Luxe series, but I hope Grahame plans on writing book two as I think she is onto something, especially since Downton Abbey has become so popular. If you are looking for a captivating historical read this summer with the right mix of romance, scandal and gossip, check out Wentworth Hall and don't forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win this book and other great historical reads just in time for your summer vacation.
*Buy Wentworth Hall
*Read an excerpt