Publishing Info: January 1, 2013 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 23, 2012
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.
I think the best way I can sum up WENTWORTH is Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey. I really think it had a lot of promise but failed to deliver on several different levels.
First: I actually didn’t feel very connected with the characters. It seemed like a lot of them were very basic, cookie-cutter versions of an idea that really could have been developed much more. They need to grow a bit more, to be more well-rounded. Each character had an idea of how they should be but didn’t really go much further beyond that basic idea. I also have no idea what the purpose of Jessica and Teddy were except for being the subjects of a few finger-pointing situations. I think their roles could have been easily pawned off onto other characters without them actually living in the house. I didn’t feel like their roles in the house were disruptive enough to stir up a lot of different conflicts. I also felt like there were just too many characters and the focus was spread out too far instead of concentrating on Maggie and Lila a bit more. I didn’t feel like there was really a core one/two/three main characters to settle on because it kept skipping from one person to the next.
I also think it could have been a lot better if the author had spent more time developing certain plot points and twisting mysteries into the story instead of silly things. For instance, I didn’t really care for seeing the ENTIRE newspaper satires (I didn’t even read some of them since it was essentially repeating what I had just read but in a silly way). The clues for the mysteries weren’t subtle enough to make me wonder what was going to happen. As soon as a clue was revealed, that pretty much exposed the whole secret instead of just revealing a piece of the puzzle.
There were some really great ideas and some excellent dramatic twists, but the whole book just felt a little rushed to me and I just really would have liked to see a lot more development overall.
Maggie: Maggie was kind of a strange main character for me. The very beginning of the book started with her being quiet and cold towards everyone. Then in the second half of the book, we find out WHY but it was too late for me by then. I already didn’t like her. I had a hard time feeling sympathetic for her and thought it was too little too late.
Lila: I felt like Lila’s character was a little too immature for me. She was sixteen and after reading so many YA novels, I had hoped for a bit more maturity from her (although I know, I know, many sixteen-year-olds are quite immature…….. Myself for example)! I just wanted a bit more development from her and I just felt like her character was lacking quite a bit.
This book was just…. not good. Pass on it.
2 thoughts on “Wentworth Hall – Abby Grahame”
I keep thinking I want to pick this one up but thinking I might pass now, a lot of those points are things that really irk me in books.
Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one that much, though it sounds like I wouldn’t either! The fact that you said the characters were very basic & cookie-cutter made me pause; I’ve found that characters I can connect with are the real selling point in a novel for me! 🙂 Great review! I do like that it is set just after the Victorian era.
Alice @ Alice in Readerland