Although I’d like to pride myself as a seasoned, experienced book critic, unfortunately I’m too picky to be one. Don’t critics have to be picky? Yes, but in my case, I’m too picky to pick up anything other than contemporary YA novels. Manor of Secrets is not my typical read, as it’s a historical fiction novel. However, I enjoyed it all the same.
Manor of Secrets explores the worlds of two girls, Lady Charlotte Edwards and kitchen maid Janie Seward. Although they both live at the Manor, only Janie knows of the other girl. Charlotte has been taught as a lady, in other words an arrogant, vain girl. As for Janie, she’s tough as nails but afraid to explore. When fate brings them together, will Charlotte and Janie learn to find their real selves? Secrets and personalities are revealed in Manor of Secrets.
End faux suspenseful plot.
To be honest, Manor of Secrets exceeded my expectations. Then again, I don’t exactly have expectations for novels these days anymore. While the plot wasn’t entirely realistic, I did enjoy it. Basically, Manor of Secrets’ plot revolves around secrets and unrealistic events of the past. There’s nothing too crazy like murder or tyrancy, as it is a historical novel. What I mean by unrealistic involves family secrets and lineage.
The characters themselves were not especially interesting. Charlotte and Janie are both relatable enough, but I didn’t feel a notable connection with either. Janie is strong, I’ll give her that. But strong does not correlate to big dreams, apparently. Janie accepts her station in life, which I didn’t understand given her personality. At times I felt like Janie wasn’t a fully developed characters. Sometimes her actions did not fit her personality.
As for Charlotte, I suppose she can be known as the paragon of character development. However, I expected her to develop, although maybe not the amount she did. Surprisingly, I liked Charlotte more than Janie. Charlotte seemed more like a teenager, complete with mood swings and vanity and all. Although initially fussy, whiny, and annoying, she matured to become a more thoughtful girl.
Katherine Longshore’s writing style is readable. Although I prefer first-person, third-person fits this novel much better. Longshore’s third-person writing is elegant without being burdensome. It’s descriptive without being too flowery. While it’s not the best I’ve read, it’s not the worst writing either. Her writing style kept me interested in the book.
So there you have it. Manor of Secrets is quite an interesting book. If you enjoy historical fiction, this is a great novel to check out.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Publisher: Point (January 28, 2014)
ISBN Number: 9780545567589
Length: 320 pages (Hardcover)
Genre: Historical fiction, YA, Romance