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. Set against the backdrop of Chicago’s Gilded Age and the 1893 World’s Fair, Secrets of Sloane House takes us on a whirlwind journey of romance and mystery.
I am fascinated by the world’s fairs of 1893 and 1901. Each took place in the USA (Chicago and Buffalo, respectively), had amazing attractions, was built to be temporary and, sadly, connected with high profile murders. This was the Gilded Age, where wealthy families mingled in elite social circles. To be accepted by such company meant you had made it. They were the envy of many. But what took place behind closed doors? What secrets did these families hide? What did the staff pretend not to see? How was the staff treated? In this novel, Gray gives us a tantalizing glimpse into this world. Secrets of Sloane House is the first in a new series set around the Chicago World’s Fair, and it is very different from Gray’s popular Amish novels. Some of the storyline is obvious enough that I could form early, yet accurate, opinions. There is, however, a stunning twist in the tale that I had not seen coming. This is a dark read at times, especially as the storyline reaches its startling climax, but it is a page turner and I found it difficult to put down. Book two, Deception at Sable Hill, comes out early next year. The main character in it, Eloisa, plays a pivotal role in this book and the events surrounding her will have repercussions. There’s an excerpt at the back of book one but it does contain some spoilers, so don’t read it until you’ve fully uncovered the Secrets of Sloane House.
Have you read Secrets of Sloane House? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Read an excerpt from Secrets of Sloane House Publisher: Zondervan Publication Date: 08 July 2014 Page Count: 336