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Secrets of Nanreath Hall: A Novel Paperback – August 2, 2016
This month's Book With Buzz: "Stranger in the House" by Shari Lapena
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A thriller packed full of secrets and a twisty story that never stops - from the bestselling author of "The Couple Next Door." See more
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“In this compelling and heartwarming novel, Alix Rickloff shares with us two women, mother and daughter, whose tragic and triumphant lives intertwine through two world wars. The story pulls us into the universal struggle of all women to find their places in their worlds. I was deeply moved.” (Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of The Royal Nanny)
“Filled with secrets that kept me turning pages to get to the mysterious truth. At the heart, this is a novel about searching for one’s identity. The vivid writing combined with such an intriguing story make Alix Rickloff an exciting voice in historical fiction.” (Renée Rosen, bestselling author of White Collar Girl)
“Alix Rickloff’s debut is a delight - beautifully written with fascinating characters, rich historical detail and an intriguing family mystery that keeps the pages turning.” (Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author)
“Telling an elegant tale about a mother and daughter trying to find themselves in the midst of two very different world wars, Alix Rickloff establishes herself as an up and coming talent in the historical fiction genre.” (Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter)
“In this engaging and deftly plotted novel, Alix Rickloff introduces us to two heroines who are [...] so memorable and richly portrayed that they all but leap off the page. I loved Secrets of Nanreath Hall [...] and I eagerly await more from this sensitive and gifted novelist.” (Jennifer Robson, International Bestselling author of Moonlight Over Paris)
“an emotional and fascinating journey into the hearts of many women. [...] Many will find the soap-opera plotline, likable characters, colorful backdrop and the quest for answers to decades-old questions as much fun as a Downtown Abbey episode.” (RT Book Reviews)
From the Back Cover
Cornwall, 1940. Back in England after the harrowing evacuation at Dunkirk, WWII Red Cross nurse Anna Trenowyth finds herself unexpectedly assigned to Nanreath Hall—her dead mother’s childhood home. All Anna has left of her mother, Lady Katherine Trenowyth, are vague memories that tease her with clues she can’t unravel. Anna knows this could be the chance for her to finally become acquainted with the family she’s never known—and to learn the truth about
Cornwall, 1913. In the luxury of pre-WWI England, Lady Katherine Trenowyth is expected to do nothing more than make a smart marriage. When bohemian painter Simon Halliday enters her world, Katherine begins to question the future that was so carefully laid out for her. Her choices soon lead her away from the stability of her home and family toward a wild existence of life, art, and love.
As Anna is drawn into her newfound family’s lives and their tangled loyalties, she must decide if the secrets of the past are too dangerous to unearth . . . and if the family she’s discovered is one she can keep.
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Top customer reviews
Lady Katherine, who’s story begins in 1913 before the first world war, struggles with society’s pressures of being prim and proper and eventually breaks free from her family to follow her heart and ambitions. Meanwhile, Katherine’s daughter Anna, whose story takes place during WWII, grapples with finding her place and herself after losing the only family she’s ever known – a couple who raised her after Lady Katherine’s death.
The novel stays true to its times, depicting the demands and tensions of society especially for women growing up striving to be more than a trophy wife, married for wealth and station. Taken through each woman’s life parallel, Katherine’s unfolds as Anna works to uncover the secrets of her family’s past.
While having an illegitimate child was a major scandal in the early 20th century, everyone knew that Katherine was “a fallen woman” from the moment she left her parents’ home to run away with Simon, the love of her life. Although it was scandalous and isolated Anna, it wasn’t really a secret that she had an unconventional upbringing. As Anna sets off to mother’s childhood home on a military assignment, the book implies that there are major secrets lurking in the corridors of Nanreath Hall. While the narrative was interesting and compelling, I was disappointed by the lack of bombshells uncovered. Granted, at the time, all of the secrets eventually discovered would have been major upsets for the family, as a reader I felt like they weren’t very shocking having already been alluded to throughout the story.
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A few things are left unresolved at the end of the book, which is a little frustrating, but perhaps this will just be the first in a series.