Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

20140320-030241.jpg

This was a wonderful coming of age story that was very feel-good but more than fluff. Manor of secrets is aptly named, and the mysteries of the past are pretty shocking. I loved finding out the dirt! An upstairs/downstairs look at life in a manor house that smacks of Downton Abby. It was lovely!

Charlotte is determined to have an adventure. She’s only 16, but her life has already been mapped out for her. Her mother has had Charlotte’s husband picked out for a very long time and seems eager to be finished with the responsibility of a daughter. Lady Diane is a cold, strict woman. I kind of hated her. Poor Charlotte, her life is so stifling that she secretly writes stories featuring members of both the household and her family. I cracked up at this bit from one that must be about Mommy Dearest.

“…it was about the lady mistress of a great house in the country. A kind of female Bluebeard, who took in helpless maidens and tormented them.”

Janie, a below stairs kitchen maid, was hard to warm to right away. Now I see that she was just more realistic and hadn’t lead a sheltered life like Charlotte of the Manor. She’s practical because she has to be. The dual narrative worked out beautifully!

Charlotte’s best friend Fran is a nasty girl! She treats servants like they aren’t even people. I feel for Charlotte! If this is all she’s had for a best friend, plus her awful mother, it’s no wonder that she sought out companionship below stairs. Janie is quite reluctant to become her friend, and with good reason.

The supporting characters were just as well written. Lawrence, the gorgeous, charming footman. Lord Andrew Broadhurst turned out to be much different than I thought he would be. There’s just so much to love in this story. I’ll definitly pick up anything else Katherine Longshore writes. 5 stars, highly recommended.