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The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret Kindle Edition
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John Henry Montagu, the 9th Duke of Rutland, was a second son. His elder brother died shortly before the first gap in his edited correspondence. He had three sisters, one of whom was Diana, later the socialite and wife of Duff Cooper. Bailey takes us methodically through her search for the truth. She asks why the Duke died in 1940, locked away in a set of rooms to which only a handful of people were admitted, at his family home Belvoir Castle? What made him spurn a more comfortable sickroom for the spartan one he chose, in order to remain there completing his work, even when he was seriously ill? What, in other words, did he have to hide?
This is a work of great research and the author involves you completely in John's life and that of his family. While I have read much about his sister Diana, I knew little about her parents. John and Diana's mother Violet was a woman who enjoyed intrigue and who never recovered from the death of her eldest child. The problem with the book is that much is conjecture and, although Bailey solves the main mystery concerning WWI, she glosses over parts of the story she is unable to solve - the section regarding John's time in Rome is quite weak compared to the rest of the book. However, I enjoyed following the authors progress as she unravelled the mystery of the missing letters, tracking down the story and uncovering long held secrets in a time when the aristocracy would do anything to present the image they wanted to show the world.
The author of <The Secret Rooms> tells us about some of the personnel of a specific unit of the British Army in WW I. The unit included the officers and men recruited from the duke's estates, The duke was an officer. The duke, a young man at the time of the war, served in circumstances affected by his powerful family's familiarity with Britain's top officers. The book's "mystery" arose out of his military service as affected by his family's influence. Having read the book completely I discovered a quality that I doubt that authoress Bailey intended. The quality? I learned that the Brits performed a great service to the population in general when Parliament decided to tax the aristocracy into relative penury and all but do away with the House of Lords. Also I learned that I should thank God more than I already have done, for giving our (U.S.) Founding Fathers the good sense to revolt successfully against Britain in the 18th century.
I also thank God for NOT making me fight as an enlisted man under the social-class-ridden British officer corps of the 1st World War. Had I been present as an enlisted man I might have been tempted to switch sides.
If you the prospective reader want to wade through reams of paper devoted to British aristocracy's habits and perquisites in an earlier time, read this book.
The author did an excellent job of telling the story. Got a little bug-eyed with the war scenes, but I realize it was part of the book.
I love England. Just seems the aristocracy is valued more than the common man at that time in history. I do hope it has changed somewhat today. Good read & a fine book.😊
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