Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Charlene Reviews: A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore

ISBN #: 978-0805094497
Page Count: 400
Copyright: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks


Auction house appraiser Jude leaves London for her dream job at Starbrough Hall, an estate in the countryside, examining and pricing the manuscripts and instruments of an eighteenth-century astronomer. She is welcomed by Chantal Wickham and Jude feels close to the old woman at once: they have both lost their husbands. Hard times have forced the Wickham family to sell the astronomer's work, their land and with it, the timeworn tower that lies nearby. The tower was built as an observatory for astronomer Anthony Wickham and his daughter Esther, and it served as the setting for their most incredible discoveries.

Though Jude is far away from her life in London, her arrival at Starbrough Hall brings a host of childhood memories. She meets Euan, a famed writer and naturalist who lives in the gamekeeper's cottage at the foot of the tower, where Jude's grandfather once lived. And a nightmare begins to haunt her six-year-old niece, the same nightmare Jude herself had years ago. Is it possible that the dreams are passed down from one generation to the next? What secrets does the tower hold? And will Jude unearth them before it's too late?

Charlene's Review:

Our main character, Jude, works as an appraiser for an auction house. Still suffering the loss of her husband, Jude welcomes a large job evaluating the manuscripts from an astronomer. As she digs deeper into the journals of Anthony and Esther Wickham, she finds many secrets hidden within the family and the grounds around Starbrough Hall, a place in which her own mother once lived. Dreams that have haunted her since childhood have now begun to repeat in her niece's dreams. Jude hopes to find the answer as she puts the puzzle of the Wickham family together.

There are so many layers to this story. Mystery, murder, betrayal, romance, and even some history are all found in A Place of Secrets. English charm, and picturesque details add to the beauty of this novel, set partially in the 18th century. Ms. Hore seamlessly weaves the past and present, as if with a magic wand, and it is all tied neatly up by the end. I fell in love with the characters, especially with Esther, the very mysterious daughter of astronomer, Anthony Wickham. A Place of Secrets is a completely enjoyable reading experience.

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