Book Review

Review: Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray

It’s always fun discovering “new” authors. When I received a copy of Secrets of Sloan House to review, I had never heard of Shelley Gray. I assumed that this was a debut author. Well, when working on adding the links to the bottom of this post, I was quite pleased to learn that she has a few books written. While most are Amish Fiction, which I don’t read much of, she does have a series that is a Western Romance that sound pretty interesting that I might just have to add to my “to-read” list, alongside of the rest of the books that will come out as part of the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series.

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**I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review**

Against the backdrop of the 1893 World’s Fair, a young woman finds employment with an illustrious Chicago family—a family who may guard the secret of her sister’s disappearance. Sloane House is among the most gilded mansions of Gilded Age Chicago. Rosalind Perry, the new housemaid, pours the morning coffee before the hard gaze of her mistress. “It’s simple, Rosalind,” she says. “I am Veronica Sloane, heiress to one of the country’s greatest fortunes. You are simply one in a long line of unsuitable maids.” Back on the farm in Wisconsin, Rosalind’s plan had seemed logical: Move to Chicago. Get hired on at Sloane House. Discover what transpired while her sister worked as a maid there—and follow the clues to why she disappeared. Now, as a live-in housemaid to the Sloanes, Rosalind realizes her plan had been woefully simple-minded. She was ignorant of the hard, hidden life of a servant in a big, prominent house; of the divide between the Sloane family and the people who served them; and most of all, she had never imagined so many people could live in such proximity and keep such dark secrets. Yet, while Sloane House is daunting, the streets of Chicago are downright dangerous. The World’s Fair has brought a new kind of crime to the city . . . and a lonely young woman is always at risk. But when Rosalind accepts the friendship of Reid Armstrong, the handsome young heir to a Chicago silver fortune, she becomes an accidental rival to Veronica Sloane. As Rosalind continues to disguise her kinship to the missing maid—and struggles to appease her jealous mistress—she probes the dark secrets of Sloane House and comes ever closer to uncovering her sister’s mysterious fate. A fate that everyone in the house seems to know . . . but which no one dares to name.

Some novels are just hard to put down. This is one of them. The characters were fascinating, the setting interesting, and the mystery and storyline were quite intriguing. From the first page, I wanted to know what had happened to Rosalind’s sister, Miranda. The more we learned about her, the more unlikely it seemed that she could have just vanished. Plus there are so many characters that have us ready to pin the blame on them and others who seem to be up to something else entirely.

The book also has an extremely likeable hero. Reid is trying to figure out his path in life. Being part of a newly wealthy family, he has to be careful of every move he makes. But at the same time, he feels he needs to follow his heart. Blend that in with a meeting with Rosalind, and he feels he needs to help her find out what happened to her sister.

All in all, the novel was well-written and had a couple of a well-placed twists and unexpected moments. This novel blended all of my favorite things: World’s Fair setting, Historical Fiction, Great Characters, some mystery, a touch of romance, and a message about faith.

I would love to hear from you! I love novels that are set during the various World’s fairs. Do you have any favorite historical settings?

For more on the author or this book, please check out the following links:

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