Review: Wentworth Hall, by Abby Grahame (May 2012)

Wentworth Hall, by Abby GrahameThis slight Downton Abbey knock-off takes place at Wentworth Hall, home of the Darlingtons, a down-on-their-luck noble family with nothing much left but their title. The book is full of the same sort of scandals that haunt the Granthams of Downton: illegitimate children, love between the classes, unfortunate matches with self-made men. Woven between chapters is an amusing society-gossip column about the Darlingtons, written by a mysterious someone with an inside scoop on their secrets — easily the best part of the book.

You guys, this book is shockingly poorly edited. Simon & Schuster should be ashamed of themselves. The publicist sent me a review copy, but it’s a final, not an ARC. And yet a character describes herself as “neither fish nor foul,” and Grahame can’t get two interchangeable servants’ names straight:

“Deja vu!” explained Grace.

“Excuse me?” Mrs. Howard asked, arching one eyebrow as though Helen had said something a bit racy.

The dialogue is clunky and does as much exposition as forwarding of the plot. Characters come and go without leaving much of a mark on the story or reader. And it probably isn’t fair to say this since I have no evidence other than the lack of an Acknowledgements section, but I suspect Grahame’s period research consisted entirely of watching BBC America.

Simon & Schuster offered me a giveaway as well, which was very generous. But in the end I couldn’t really justify promoting the book here, even to get free books for my lovely readers.

Also reviewed by: Rebecca’s Book Blog

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3 Responses to Review: Wentworth Hall, by Abby Grahame (May 2012)

  1. ZsuZsa Simandy, aka Mariette Miko says:

    How on earth did this novel get through all the way into publishing? The plot is see-through, ending predictable (although not satisfying), characters undefined, interior layout chaotic, to say the least, text filled with typos, grammatical errors, inconsistencies (ex. the baby gets uplifted from the crib twice on the same page, without being placed back in between), un-period-like words, such as “cute” and “hangup”. The writing is thin, boring, simplistic. The only lovely thing about this book is the cover. It’s why I picked it up–the rest is why I never finished reading it.

  2. Britt says:

    Anonymous chronicler with all the secrets? Sounds like Gossip Girl. Are teh kids still reading those or are we On To The Next?

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