Grahame, Abby. Wentworth Hall. 288 p. 2012. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Hardcover $16.99. ISBN 9781442451964.
And you thought there were secrets in the Abbey...
The Darlington family of Wentworth Hall, an elite British family, fills their time by caring for their extensive estate, and looking over their shoulders as they struggle to keep up an elaborate charade to hide their scandalous secrets of illicit romances, and bitter betrayals.
Wentworth Hall is a lush historical novel by debut author Abby Grahame, which is spot-on perfect for fans of Downton Abbey!Read an excerpt.
My reviewThe Edwardian era is my favorite time period history, and you already know I'm a huge fan of Downton Abbey, so I had fun reading Wentworth Hall.
With the story's action taking place in both the upstairs and downstairs of a distinguished yet slightly run-down manor, and a mysterious someone surreptitiously reporting the family's goings-on in a bitingly satirical newspaper column, this book is like a mashup of a British period drama and Gossip Girl.
While serious historical fiction aficionados may crave something weightier, fans of Anna Godbersen's Luxe series will flock to Wentworth Hall. This book is chock-full of delicious drama and appeals to a slightly younger audience than Godbersen's series-- scandal is alluded to, but nothing particularly steamy happens. (Which will be nice to remember at the library when I'm recommending books for 8th graders with a historical fiction assignment!)
The newspaper columns cleverly satirizing life at Wentworth Hall are a true highlight of the story, and the author offers some memorable dialogue amidst the briskly paced plot. My favorite, as one of the maids describes the Darlingtons, who are nearly destitute despite their noble lineage:
"They're rich and they've always been rich. They can't stop being rich just because the money has run out."Ha! You can tell Grahame must have had a ball writing this book.
GiveawaySimon & Schuster is generously giving away a copy of Wentworth Hall to two lucky readers of my blog! I am so excited to bring this giveaway to you. Just fill out the following form with your name and email address for your chance to win.
This contest is open to United States residents only. Must be 13 or older to enter. Entries must be received by 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time on Monday, May 1st. Prizing courtesy of Simon & Schuster.
Look for Wentworth Hall in bookstores on May 1st. Review copy provided to me by Big Honcho Media.