A Charming Continuation of a New Historical Fiction Series for Tweens
Kate’s Story, 1914
by Adele Whitby
Series: Secrets of the Manor (Book 2)
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Simon Spotlight
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There are more family secrets waiting to be discovered at Vandermeer Manor in America in the second book of a historical fiction mystery series.
It’s the end of June in 1914, and Beth Etheridge is traveling from her home in England’s Chatswood Manor all the way to America, to visit her cousin Kate at Vandermeer Manor in Rhode Island. The girls are thrilled to be united, especially because Beth will be in attendance when Kate receives the heirloom “Katherine” necklace: one half of a heart encrusted with gorgeous rubies. It’s the companion to Beth’s “Elizabeth” necklace. But the trip is cut short when news arrives of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. With talk of war on the horizon, Beth is ordered to return home, but Kate knows the perfect hiding place to help her stay. A wing of Vandermeer Manor is rumored to be haunted, and as the girls explore, they find a different kind of ghost—and a new trove of family secrets.
Kate has a lot to look forward to: Her twelfth birthday is coming up, her cousin Beth is visiting from England, and there’s a Fourth of July parade and picnic on horizon. Of course, foremost in her mind is her birthday, because that’s when she’ll receive the Katherine necklace. Then, she and Beth will each proudly wear their own family heirloom jewels!
Tensions continue to mount in Europe as war looms. As it happens, on June 28th, the day Beth boards a ship to travel to America, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is assassinated. So no sooner does Beth reach Vandermeer Manor in Bridgeport to be united with Kate than a telegram from home arrives. Beth’s family wants her safely on a transport back to England the next day! Will the girls be able to have their long-awaited extended summer stay together? Or will external forces tear them asunder?
Just as with book one, there is mystery afoot surrounding family secrets. As an added bonus, Vandermeer Manor has an eerie, unused wing that’s haunted. This time the mystery remains more tightly under wraps, since the resolution is difficult to surmise prematurely. Historically, we witness women suffragettes, and once again, we have a sympathetic girl’s first person narration: Kate is even more likable than her British counterpart. The result is another smashing success!
Kate’s Story is independently complete and could even be read without familiarity with its predecessor, Beth’s Story. Understandably, though, one would benefit from reading in the proper sequence. At book’s end, the larger story arc closes with a satisfying portion of the questions answered, yet with enough unrevealed secrets to propel readers into the next series installment. (Books 3 and 4, Elizabeth’s Story, 1848 and Katherine’s Story, 1848, release on August 26th.)
— Dawn Teresa
4 of 5 Hearts. A Charming Continuation of a New Historical Fiction Series for Tweens.
Family mysteries continue to unravel in this second installment of the Secrets of the Manor series set in Rhode Island. During their sleepover stay at Vandermeer Manor with Kate, readers will enjoy unearthing more Chatswood family secrets!