Saturday, 16 November 2013

Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame

Wentworth Hall
Abby Grahame
[May 1, 2012]
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The prettiest people often have the ugliest secrets…

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 fa├žade 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.

Let's talk about books that disappoint you.

I mean, this sounds a lot like a YA Downton Abbey should! It's super promising in its description!  But no. There's a reason Downton Abbey has already been renewed for season five. Besides just being good, that dedicated time is necessary to really help connect viewers with characters. In a book as short as this with as many plot lines as it has? That connection can't happen.

That was the big disappointment that has stuck with me, a year and a half after reading. There was nothing stand out about the writing or the characters, but I can still remember so vividly how disappointing it was to be ready to get invested in these characters' lives and struggles and to support them in trying to be happy, but I couldn't. I need a few hundred more pages or more books in a series. Maybe if the writing had been a knockout or some of the characters had really come away with me, it's something I could have been invested in. But...nope.

The plot lines were rather stereotypical and expected. There's only so much you can do to create major scandals and I get that but...when there's not much else going, I need a plot that really grabs me. And these kinds of stereotypical plot lines also tend to pigeon hole the characters into certain types, which is what I'm guessing happened here since I remember nothing about the characters.

So, basically, this book was a massive let down for me. I had such high hopes when I read it, but now, even with all of this time, I'm still kind of bitter. If you're looking for something Downton Abbey related, this should not be where you turn, but if you're into Gossip Girl and history? Then it might be worth trying. Or if you just need an easy read to fly through. This can also serve that purpose.

--Julie

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