Seeing that this was a Chicago Worlds Fair Mystery, I had to pick it up from my local book store. Finding a historical mystery is super hard and being the first Shelley Gray novel Ive read; it was very impressive. It was so nice to read about a servant instead of the mistress without it being medieval. One of the reasons that this book stood out to me was the plot development. I didnt seem rushed or like it was dragging on and on. I also liked the little bit of history Shelley Gray incorporated in it. There are just a few problems I had with it. There was very little mention of God or a need for a savior within this books pages. Also, I didnt get a clear impression that Rosalind was a Christian. True, she did pray, but praying doesnt mean you are a Christian. The character of Reid Armstrong was a bit shallow. I thought Shelley could have worked a little harder on him. Due to some events in this book I would not recommend this book for children under 14 or 15 years of age. All in all, I thought this book was worth the read. Hope this helps.
Farm girl Rosalinda Perry has come to Chicago to find her missing sister. Born and raised on a working farm, she has been raised in the fact that she has had a say in her family business. Now employed as a maid in the Sloane household, she has a difficult time remembering that there the classes are separated and lines are not to be crossed. Searching for her sister, she runs into one dead end after another until Reid Armstrong offers to help.
I liked Rosalind, her courage to come to places unknown to look for her sister. Although I found her a bit simplistic in her quest, I loved the fact that she refused to give up.
Reid Armstrong, I didnt care for. He fell flat and there didnt seem to be much to him.
The secrets of Sloane house was pleasant surprise however. Set against the backdrop of the Chicago 1893 world fair, I fully expected it to be a light romantic historical piece of fiction that I could breeze through in a day or two. Instead I got a page turning mystery full of engaging plot twists and turns that held the readers attention from beginning to end. I cant wait to read the rest of the series.
There are two other things that I would like to mention, first I would like to offer a warning though, this book has dark themes running through it. Missing girls, murder and the last half of the book a sexual assault is eluded to. If you have teenage girls that want to read it, I would suggest you read it first or at least read it with her.
The other thing is, that for a book that published under a Christian publishing house, I found very little God within its pages.
I scrambled to get this book at my local library because I had enjoyed its sequel (Whispers in the Reading Room) so much. It did not disappoint! I finished over just two (busy, pre-Christmas) days because I could not put it down.
Loved the characters in this book, and their search to find not only answers about Miranda but themselves and their place in God's plan. Historical fiction is always interesting to me, and this book was accurate in terms of each person's perception of their place in the social strata. As a lover of Downton Abbey, I especially enjoyed this American look at life "upstairs/downstairs."
Rosalind leaves her family's farm in Wisconsin to hire on as a maid in the great house where her sister worker before going missing. She doesn't reveal her identity (and even uses a false last name), but she isn't the only one keeping secrets!
Another character with identity issues is Reid Armstrong, a friend of the powerful Sloane family who employs Rosalind. His father is "new money" and Reid himself is still finding his way in the upper crust of Chicago society since his final year at Harvard.
I enjoyed how each of these characters evolved - eventually being honest within themselves about their history and motives and their need to depend upon the Lord. Of course, every romance needs a happy ending, and Reid and Rosalind do not disappoint us in this respect.
This book was more suspenseful than its sequel, but both were excellent reads. Can't wait to delve into the first book in this series - what an interesting time in one of my favorite towns!
I have enjoyed several Amish books by Shelley Shepard Gray. But I think this series set in Chicago's high society in the Gilded Age (written under the name Shelley Gray) might be my favorites of her books so far. Secrets of Sloane House grabbed my attention from the first page and held it to the very end.
Shelley's vivid descriptions transported me to a fascinating time in America's history, a time I had not read much about until fairly recently. The drastic distinctions between the "haves" and the "have-nots" come through sharply and set the tone for the mystery and romance that are so engaging throughout. There is a host of well-developed characters throughout the story -- some who are easy to love and others you love to hate.
In the introductory pages of this book, it is described in the following terms: "Downton Abbey comes to Chicago . . ." I would imagine that fans of that series would definitely find themselves enjoying Shelley's story with its similar setting. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for well-written Christian historical fiction.
Thanks to Shelley Gray and her publisher for providing a copy of Secrets of Sloane House some time ago. It was a pleasure to read and review this great book!
This story has it all. Strong and well written characters, excellent historical information, and even a great mystery. Everything was so very real as I read it was as if I was a character in the story. A young woman from the country matures as she works as a maid in a most prominant home in Chicago during the Chicago World's Fair. The class distinction was wonderfully portrayed so that I got more than a glimpse of what life was like at that time. I am not sure I can do justice to this book. All I can say is, I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy historical, Christian fiction. Wonderful.