Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review: Wentworth Hall

Wentworth Hall
By Abby Grahame
Published: May 1, 2012

My review:

Wentworth Hall is home to the Darlington family. Even though the family has fallen on hard times financially, Lord Darlington likes to act as though nothing is amiss. His eldest daughter Maggie has just returned from a year spent abroad when he makes the announcement that they are to have two houseguests-Teddy and Jessica, teenage siblings who will be worth a fortune when they come of age. He expects Maggie to try to snare Teddy. Meanwhile Maggie's younger sister Lila hopes to get Teddy's attention for herself. The Darlingtons have their secrets and so do their servants but it appears that someone in the house is selling stories about them to the press...

Wentworth Hall is very similar in tone to The Luxe by Anna Godbersen.  It is light historical fiction that features family drama, gossip, and romance. Wentworth Hall also taps into the popularity of the Downton Abbey craze with its early 20th Century setting and focus on the upstairs/downstairs relationship between the aristocracy and their servants. 

The story is told through the point of view of multiple characters including Maggie Darlington, her sister Lila, the maid Nora, new nanny Therese, and the groom Michael. I much preferred the chapters from Maggie's POV. Having multiple narrators should have given us greater insight into the characters but it didn't quite work that way. I liked Maggie and even her sister Lila though she annoyed me at first. I also liked opinionated Nora and it was nice getting the perspective of those below stairs. 

While I found the story to be an addicting read, there were some flaws that kept me from liking it as much as Anna Godbersen's books. The characters are not well developed with the exception of Maggie, the "secrets" were not so difficult to figure out, the gimmick of including the newspaper parodies of the Worthless family became incredibly annoying (they should have been shorter and fewer in number), certain of the characters just seemed to disappear from the narrative, and the threads of the story did not wrap up very plausibly. In fact it ended so abruptly that it took me by surprise. The ending was very rushed with an epilogue of sorts tacked on.  I am under the impression that this is not a series but perhaps I am wrong. Still for all its flaws, I found this to be an enjoyable and addictive book. It didn't completely live up to its potential for me but  if there is a sequel, I'd likely pick it up (from the library) just to see what happens next. For readers looking for a YA book with more substance to fill that Downton Abbey fix, try the Luxe novels by Anna Godbersen instead.


  1. I love the covers for The Luxe series but I hated all of the characters which bodes ill for me reading Wentworth Hall since you say these are even less developed. I think I will probably end up skipping this one just to save myself frustration. Thanks for the review!

  2. I agree that this book is similar to The Luxe series, but definitely not as good. I thought it was entertaining nonetheless and reminded me of Downton Abbey a little. As for historical reads, I liked Gilt better. Great review, Christina!

  3. I've been curious about this one... I haven't read the Luxe series so I can't compare, but this one does sound good! But to be honest, you have me excited to read the Luxe series now!


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