March 3, 2014

Manor of Secrets - Katherine Longshore

Manor of Secrets Katherine Longshore
Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore
Publisher: Point
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source/Format: Netgalley || e-galley
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.].

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. (from Goodreads)

Manor of Secrets is a fun novel, set in an era where things were on the verge of change from a world of the upper class lords and ladies (“upstairs) and lower class servants (“downstairs”) to a world of equals. Set in a country manor house, the plot revolves around the stories of two girls – Charlotte Edmonds, a lady of the manor, and Janie Seward, a kitchen maid.

Charlotte lives like a princess, with all the luxury her family provides. Even with all the finery and opportunity that surrounds her, Charlotte feels like a bird in a gilded cage – controlled by her mother, trapped without any means of freedom, gifted with wings in the form of her novel writing yet without any way to fly. 

Janie, on the other hand, has known nothing but work all her life, as that’s what she needs to do in order to survive and stay on in the manor. Like Charlotte, she feels trapped by her circumstances, having to tamp down her longing to be a proper cook and to experience certain liberties.

Their mutual understanding about having no freedom is what draws Charlotte and Janie into a tentative friendship, further cemented by Charlotte’s determination to learn all about her eccentric aunt and asking Janie to help her discreetly do so. As the girls spend more time together, they discover that they might not be so different after all – especially when it comes to what they want for their lives (freedom, in case you hadn’t guessed).

What I love most about Manor of Secrets is that it demonstrates the larger picture of how the societal dynamic was starting to shift during that era through Charlotte & Janie’s friendship. It might have started out as fascination with each other’s lives (and assumptions that were eventually disproved), but that friendship seems to symbolize the equality, respect and understanding that were soon to exist in the world.

There are secrets mentioned in the title, and secrets a-plenty exist around the manor! Most of these secrets revolve around the two girls – their romantic entanglements (which were pretty darn cute, I’ll admit), their hopes and fears, their friendships and even their pasts. All of them make Manor of Secrets rather deliciously intriguing to read.

Manor of Secrets also involves a lot of dramatic revelations, secrets spilled, confrontations had, and more. I’m not such a big fan of the drama, honestly, as it felt a touch over the top. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story, and rooting for both girls to get the lives (and freedom) they deserved! Seriously, if you’re looking for a fun piece of historical fiction, one that reads like Downton Abbey with drama of Gossip Girl proportions, Manor of Secrets would be a good choice.


  1. This book sounds like so much fun - definitely something I could get lost in on a rainy day! When I originally saw it on NG I held off after reading some disappointing reviews, but you've renewed my interest, Alexa!

  2. Oh I'm glad this one was good! I feel like I haven't been too into reading this one because the last "if you like Downton Abbey you'll like this" book I read was a TOTAL let down. Glad to know this one is not! I"ll have to check it out soon!

  3. I love when stories have a great plot that also highlights a bigger social trend or problem. Great review!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  4. I like the Downton Abbey/Gossip Girl comparison, I think that's a great way of summing up Manor of Secrets. I liked it, too, but I definitely saw it more as fun drama rather than historical fiction.

  5. Seems like a parallel quest for freedom


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