Saturday, 26 January 2013

At Somerton: Secrets & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed (Young Adult, Historical, 10/10E)

3rd January 2012, Hot Key Books
304 pages, Paperback
Review copy 

Themes: family & servant life in a large house, early 20th Century culture, exquisite dresses, lots of intrigue and drama, scandel, deception, family ties made and broken, new friendships forged, enemies made, incredible plot twists to wow you, lots of humour, some teen romance 

Summary from Hot Key Books

One house, two worlds, dark secrets...

The year is 1910. For the past decade, the Averley family has lived a life of luxury in India, but now they must return to Lord Averley's ancestral estate, the sprawling, majestically beautiful Somerton Court. As the household staff hastily prepare for the family's arrival, they receive shocking news: Lord Averley is bringing back a fiancée with three children of her own, and on top of that, there are rumours of a terrible scandal surrounding Lord Averley's resignation as Lieutenant Governor of Bengal.

As the family settles in, tensions arise both upstairs and downstairs. Lady Ada must choose between her honour and her heart, Sebastian must fend off ruinous threats from a former servant (and lover...) and gentle housemaid Rose will find herself at the centre of a scandal so enormous it could destroy the Averleys' reputation forever.

Nayuleska's thoughts 

Historicals like S&S make me squee! I adore the outfits the girls get to wear (the more dresses the better). I love how the different lives of the servants and those they serve are sort of separate to begin with, then merge as the numerous plots unfold. The villains in the story are extremely cunning and I view them as snakes.

Rose is a firm favourite of mine, especially at the end. She makes a few decisions which I thought were unwise, but she redeemed herself by the end. It was interesting getting to experience a lady's maid perform her duties, rather than just a brief mention and no details about what the job entails.

Lady Ada is a spunky girl, not one to hang about if her mind is set on something. It was sad seeing one of her plots unfold because I saw it happening yet was powerless to stop it. Georgina kept surprising me - I wrongly associated being ill and weak with being placid when I should have known better! 

This 10/10 read is a mix of Downton Abbey and Pride & Prejudice - I came to that conclusion before reading any reviews/info on it, which do refer to Downton. I'm super eager for book 2 to see what happens after the awesome book 1 finale.

You can find out more on Leila's website

Suggested read

If you like the early 20th century for drama and dresses, check out Debutantes by Cora Harrison 


Ali said...

If you like this, I recommend Entwined!

Nayuleska said...

Who's it by? There are several Entwined books!