Book of the Week

Secrets of the Manor series

Adele Whitby
Simon Spotlight

beth

 

 

 

Kate

 

ElizabethkatherineAdele Whitby
Simon Spotlight

 

 

Every secret leads to another in the Secrets of the Manor series. Beth and Kate are the great-great granddaughters of Robert and Mary Chatswood. In 1914, their lives are occupied with gowns, jewelry, ballroom dancing, hairdos, and servants. While their local communities thrive under the Chatswood family’s leadership and benevolence, the world is in a frenzy with women’s suffrage and the possibility of a world war. Beth’s Story takes place in the Chatswood family mansion in England where Beth, heiress of the grand estate, is preparing for a special celebration where she will receive the Elizabeth necklace, an heirloom handed down to the eldest daughter on her twelfth birthday. With the arrival of the Trufant family, Shannon, Beth’s new lady’s maid, is wrongly accused of stealing a silver locket. Old and new secrets begin to surface as Beth’s determined investigation uncovers hidden passageways, an archaic diary, lies, and finally the truth. In Kate’s Story, Beth arrives at Vandermeer Mansion, the family estate of the Vandermeer Steel owners in New England for Cousin Kate’s twelfth birthday celebration and the presentation of her Katherine necklace, the other heirloom half and identical except for the gems. A ghost tale, the diary of Great Grandmother Katherine’s lady’s maid, Essie, and a hidden message inside the necklaces are important discoveries to an amazing puzzle which begins to fit together.

Elizabeth’s Story, 1848, takes place just after the death of Lady Mary Chatswood. In the midst of Elizabeth and Katherine’s twelfth birthday ball, the heirloom birthday necklaces and personal letters from their late Mother, they stumble upon a twenty year old mystery – the disappearance of Maggie, a former kitchen maid. The twins vow to help her Irish refugee husband against the wishes of their father. Unfolding secrets and the mystery not only brings joy to the refugee but also to their lady’s maid Essie. Elizabeth and Katherine sail to the United States in Katherine’s Story, 1848, for the wedding of their Cousin Henry. The dashing young distant cousins, Maxwell, betrothed to Elizabeth as the future heir of Chatswood Manor, and Alfred, help the twins solve a malicious mystery before it ruins Alfred’s father’s wedding. As women’s roles continue to change and young romances begin to blossom, readers must await Betsy’s Story, 1934, to learn an enchanting family secret.

A perfect introduction to chapter books, this historical mystery series will capture the hearts of young girls. Author Adele Whitby blends social and political issues seamlessly, slightly indulging young romance while crafting discussion worthy topics, such as Mrs. Vandermeer’s retort to her husband’s enthusiasm that his business stands to make a pretty penny from a war, “[But] A penny earned from warfare is not one worth earning.” These titles include a Chatswood family tree and are recommended for readers 8 years and up.

Kristi Halberg
Education Resource Center
University of Delaware
10/20/2014