Like Downton Abbey? Try Wentworth Hall

By Abby Grahame
Published on May 1, 2012
Published by Simon
Source: Publisher for Review
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 faÇade 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.

Wentworth Hall is a young adult fiction novel set in the early 1900s England.  The premise of the story is similar to the show Downton Abbey.  The book is actually advertised and blurbed as being the book to read if you enjoy that PBS series. I thought it was interesting that they actually said on the cover of the book that if you enjoyed the Abbey series, you would enjoy this book.  I have found in the past- that is a very dangerous thing to do.  In other books that have been compared to the Hunger Games or Twilight- they never live up to the original.  It is a hard thing for a book to live up to another very popular franchise- it is almost as if it is being set up for disappointment.

I tried to ignore the blurbs on the front and enjoy Wentworth Hall for what it was- and it was an enjoyable book.  I found it to be very much like a historical soap opera in a book.  The narrative was incredibly dramatic and there were so many skeletons in this book, I am sure every closet in Wentworth Hall was full.  Every character seemed to be hiding something.

While this book was entertaining, there were a few plot holes.  Namely- the premise behind the book, that someone was writing stories to the paper about the Darlington family, was resolved but not in a believable way.  I don't want to get into spoilers, but a character does a complete about face at the end of the book and as a reader, I found myself going, "Huh?"  I think a lot of the plot holes in this book could have been resolved with an extra 75 pages.  The book was going along well but then felt completely cut off (almost as if the author was told, "wrap it up").  The very end felt rushed and awkward at times.

All in all, this was an entertaining story and a surprising story.  I enjoyed this young adult take on Downton Abbey and fans of the series would enjoy this soapy, drama filled read.

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds pretty interesting. A historical soap opera where everyone has skeletons in their closet sounds like my kind of book. I'll have to tell my Mom about it, she enjoys Downtown Abbey. I hate when your reading a great book and it ends abruptly. I felt that way about Mockingjay, the third book in the Hunger Games Trilogy :(

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

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