Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mini-Review: Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame

Wentworth HallAuthor: Abby Grahame
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Pages: 276
Published: May 1st, 2012
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Rating: 1/5 Stars

" 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."~Goodreads
Wow, was this disappointing.  After this book came out last year I heard some not-so-great things, but the premise sounded good and I love historical fiction so I figured I'd give it a shot.  Unfortunately I was underwhelmed.  The first two thirds of the story were alright.  I wasn't too enthusiastic about the story line since it was pretty much entirely predictable but I was still on board and fairly entertained.  The plot was clipping along at a nice pace and I wasn't bored so that was a good thing.  There were some signs early on that things were not going in a promising direction.  For one thing, the editing was just not very good.  The tense kept changing, sometimes in the same sentence.

"'Do you mean these?' Richina asked and shimmied with arms outstretched, her many diamonds, bracelets, necklaces, and brooches creating such a commotion that a large chunk of plaster falls from the ceiling." ~pg 63-64
I could have chalked this up to an oversight but it kept happening and it really messed with the flow of the story.  Another huge problem, at least for a history geek like me, was that the author didn't seem to do her research when it came to English titles.  The family's last name is Darlington.  They are titled nobility and therefore should be called by their proper titles.  So if Arthur Darlington is Earl of Fluffbottom (I don't believe his position is ever laid out, so I'm just brainstorming here) then he would be Lord Fluffbottom, not Lord Darlington.  However the parents are constantly referred to as Lord and Lady Darlington.  It may not be a big deal to some people but it really bothered me.  Along the same lines the staff kept calling the daughters Maggie and Lila instead of Lady Margaret and Lady Lila.  But I'm nitpicking.

Let's just move on to the end of the book.  Oh the problems I had with this!  Throughout this entire book there are a million different things going on and while I was able to correctly predict the outcome of each situation at it's first mention I would have like to see them fully played out.  Instead it seems that the author got half way through the book and instead of finishing it just slapped another 50 pages on so it would be over.  In one chapter we have Lord Fluffbottom (whom I refuse to refer to as Lord Darlington) storming off to confront his daughter about the big plot twist and then...boom, books over. We never really revisit the whole reason for Lord Fluffbottom's temper tantrum.  Instead the author lazily explains away everything getting wrapped up and then we find ourselves in the epilogue where everything has either worked out or is still up in the air. I wanted to chuck my book at the wall.

Really Simon and Schuster?  You published this?

This was, overall, just a lazy book.  It seems to be trying to jump on Downton Abbey's coattails but with none of the charm or storytelling, and certainly none of the patience.  I was willing to hang in there and wait for the pay-off, apparently the author wasn't.


  1. YES. I felt exactly the same way. No surprises, no payoff...very lazy. And after reading something well-researched, this books is even more lamed by the author's lack of caring. And the lack of an editor. Thanks!

    1. This was definitely one of those times that I wished it was easier for me to DNF books, but I usually just can't bring myself to do it. I'm thinking of being more lenient with myself after reading this one.

  2. I had high hopes for this one as well. I still have not watched a single episode of Downton Abbey, but everyone I know who watches it raves about it. I don't remember noticing any of those errors, and since I don't have a star rating, it looks like I love the book, even though I only rated it 3 stars on Goodreads.

    1. I was so sad that I didn't like it. I was really looking forward to it.