Secrets of the Manor series by Adele Whitby

Hello everyone, this week I’ve chosen a selection of titles that feature a family through a few generations. We start from the mid-1800’s and end up somewhere not far from the Second World War. The most fascinating feature about this is… awaiting for you at the end of my review!

8-grid book covers of girls top left girl in red/brown hair blowing blue dress middle dark haired girl in pink dress holding book in field large manor house in distance end box girl with blonde hair inside house in front of stairs in green dress middle two boxes with two girls with dark hair in blue dress and hat bottom boxes have girls in yellow dress and blonde hair in left box middle box red hair girl with blue dress inside house last box dark short haired girl with red dress holding blue book
An engaging family saga

Title: Beth’s story, 1914 | Kate’s story, 1914

Author: Adele Whitby

Publication details: Simon Spotlight; NY, 2014 | Simon & Schuster Children’s; London, 2014

What these books are about: These first two books introduce us to cousins Lady Beth of Chatswood Manor in England and Kate Vandermeer of Vandermeer Manor in America. Both stories tell of the celebration of their twelfth birthdays when they receive a special family heirloom that has been handed down from their great-grandmothers. A scandal threatens to ruin Beth’s birthday in the first book while both girls stumble upon a family secret in the second book. 

My review: A very interesting and intriguing story of family secrets and tragedy. Set in the years before World War One, of country gentry and high society. We start the series with Lady Beth and Kate as they uncover hidden secrets. Some headstrong characters, along with ghosts and an interesting mystery plotline. If you enjoy family stories with an undercurrent of a buried secret then you should start with these two!! A great series for girls!!

My rating: 5 ⭐

Title: Elizabeth’s story, 1848 | Katherine’s story, 1848

Author: Adele Whitby

Publication details: Simon Spotlight; NY, 2014 | Simon & Schuster; NY, 2014

What these books are about: Elizabeth and Katherine are about to turn twelve, which means that the grandest birthday ball in all of England is just a few weeks away! Chatswood Manor is bustling with activity, but in the midst of all the excitement, an Irish refugee shows up in search of his long-lost wife. In Elizabeth’s story we read of how the twins decide to help the man and uncover some startling clues, which lead them to discover even deeper mysteries hidden within Chatswood Manor. In Katherine’s story we follow the twins across the Atlantic to Vandermeer Manor in Rhode Island where a distant cousin celebrates her wedding. But when something very precious inside the manor gets vandalised, the groom threatens to call off the wedding. Everyone is devastated, but the truth has a way of coming to light. The twins don’t know it yet, but they might hold the key that will set true love back on its destined course. 

My review: We go back to the source of the Chatswood Manor’s secrets, back to 1848. We meet twin sisters Elizabeth and Katherine, Beth and Kate’s great-grandmothers. Although sadness lingers from their mother’s death, the two find themselves in the middle of a mystery. Both stories are quite funny as they have two really clever young ladies who equally bring forth the laughter and trouble onto themselves. Some aspects of the second story is quite mysterious and suspenseful. We the readers are also invited to witness the buds of a romance and maybe a teaser into what the great secret of Chatswood Manor could be!! And so the series continues…

My rating: 5 ⭐

Title: Betsy’s story, 1934 | Kay’s story, 1934

Author: Adele Whitby

Publication details: Simon Spotlight; NY, 2015 | Simon & Schuster; NY, 2015

What these books are about: In the first story we meet Betsy Northrup as she turns twelve, and per her family’s tradition, plans are underway for a magnificent birthday ball in her honor. Despite troubling times elsewhere, Betsy’s family is thriving, thanks to the good choices of Betsy’s mother, Beth. But then mishaps start plaguing Chatswood Manor and young Betsy vows to expose the culprit, but her home is one where secrets are easily hidden away. In the second story we meet young Kay Vandermeer during the Great Depression. Her family in America have fallen on hard times and in an attempt to stay afloat, Kay and her parents have started living in the guest cottage while getting their manor house ready to rent. Money starts coming in when a mysterious buyer purchases some family heirlooms. But questions are raised when it comes to light that the wealthy benefactor paid more money for the heirlooms than they are actually worth. Who is the man helping the Vandermeers, and what does he want in return?

My review: We jump forward to the Depression years, and meet Beth’s and Kate’s young daughters in these next two books. More mysteries and madcap adventures fill the pages of both books as the cousins uncover the great secret of Chatswood Manor!! What I enjoyed the most about this series of books was how Adele Whitby used time periods of historical significance and wove them into the stories. A lovely group of books!! I look forward to any more she writes!!

My rating: 5 ⭐

Title: Camille’s story, 1910 | Claire’s story, 1910

Author: Adele Whitby

Publication details: Simon Spotlight; NY, 2015

What these books are about: Welcome to the grand estate of Rousseau, one of the largest and most beautiful in all of Paris… and a family manor home filled with many secrets. Camille LeClerc has just moved into the manor with her mother, the cook. In Camille’s story we follow young Camille as she discovers treasures inside the manor that have been hidden away for many years. Treasures that might be the key to unlocking the secrets of the manors past… and her own. In Claire’s story our young protagonist, Claire Rousseau has just arrived to Rousseau Manor from America. Everything is new to her and adventurous Claire loves every minute of exploring her new surroundings, especially with her new friend, Camille, who also lives in the manor. But sometimes, Claire can’t help but wonder why she was sent to France. There must be more to the story than what Claire has been told and with the help of Camille, Claire is determined to find out the truth. But as Camille already knows, trying to unlock the secrets at Rousseau Manor just leads to deeper mysteries. 

My review: A lovely companion story to the Chatswood series!! Based in the beginning of the 20th century in Paris, we follow Camille and Claire in these two books on a very mysterious journey as they unlock the secrets of the Rousseau Manor. Some really good characters in Camille, Claire and the whole supporting cast!! I loved the description of life as a servant in France. I cried and laughed at the same time when I read these books and I found myself gripped in these stories. Both stories flow really well and I believe there is some room for more stories from this French thread!! Another awesome set of stories of family secrets and mysteries for girls!!

My rating: 5 ⭐

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