Monday, January 12, 2015

Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray

One woman’s search for the truth of her sister’s disappearance leads her to deceit and danger in 1893 Chicago.

Rosalind Perry has left her family’s rural farm in Wisconsin to work as a housemaid at Sloane House, one of the most elegant mansions in Gilded Age Chicago. However, Rosalind is not there just to earn a living and support her family—she’s at Sloane House determined to discover the truth about her sister’s mysterious disappearance.
Reid Armstrong is the handsome heir to a silver fortune. However, his family is on the periphery of Chicago’s elite because their wealth comes from “new money” obtained from successful mining. Marriage to Veronica Sloane would secure his family’s position in society—the lifelong dream of his ailing father.
When Reid begins to realize that Rosalind’s life may be in danger, he stops thinking of marriage prospects and concentrates on helping Rosalind. Dark things are afoot in Chicago and, he fears, in Sloane House. If he’s not vigilant, Rosalind could pay the price.

Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray was an intriguing and exciting novel that explored both the lure of the Chicago World Fair in 1893 and the dark secrets that the elite of society try to hide. The plot line was well written and contained moments of mystery, suspense, danger, romance, and tragedy. I liked how the plot started out slightly sinister and mysterious, but by the end the danger had increased significantly and actually ended in sadness for one of the characters. While I was saddened by the course of events, I did appreciate the complexity of the plot development. I also enjoyed the plot setting of 1893 Chicago and the author's descriptions of the exhibits and flavor of the World Fair as well as the poverty stricken areas and the homes of the rich that surrounded it. The contrasts between the three locations were masterfully explored, and the themes that she developed from these contrasts were also well developed. Some of these themes included trusting others, honesty, not abusing one's position in society, and respecting people regardless of their societal position. Many characters in this novel were disrespected and mistreated because of their low position in society, and it was only by showing and accepting God's love that some of their characters changed their views about the importance of societal position.

The characters were also well developed and interesting. I liked both Reid and Rosalind, and I enjoyed their interactions with one another as they tried to understand one another. Both were strong characters who had to face difficulties and to move past their differing social positions. They also had to interact with other minor characters, which also added to the depth and the intrigue of the story as they tried to discover who was behind the mysterious disappearance of Rosalind's sister. Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to reading Shelley Gray's next Chicago novel.

I received this novel from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

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