The Secrets of Hartwood Hall – Katie Lumsden #review

Book cover of The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden

Title: The Secrets of Hartwood Hall
Katie Lumsden
Publisher: Michael Joseph


It’s 1852 and Margaret Lennox, a young widow, is offered a position as governess at Hartwood Hall. She quickly accepts, hoping this isolated country house will allow her to leave her past behind.

Cut off from the village, Margaret soon starts to feel there’s something odd about her new home, despite her growing fondness for her bright, affectionate pupil, Louis. There are strange figures in the dark, tensions between servants and an abandoned east wing. Even stranger is the local gossip surrounding Mrs Eversham, Louis’s widowed mother, who is deeply distrusted in the village.

Margaret finds distraction in a forbidden relationship with the gardener, Paul. But despite his efforts to reassure her, she is certain that everyone here has something to hide. And as Margaret’s own past threatens to catch up with her, she must learn to trust her instincts before it’s too late…

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My review:

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall is a solid, enjoyable historical fiction novel following Margaret, who starts as a nanny for young Louis at the imposing Hartwood Hall. She soon starts to realise that things are not as they seem, with some of the staff commenting that they think the house has ghosts, and soon one of the staff members, in particular, finds out something about Margaret’s past that could cause serious problems…

I really enjoyed the rich characters, atmosphere and general air of mystery in this novel. A lot happens, so some elements definitely could have been developed more and I’d have liked them to be as I enjoyed reading about these characters immensely. But regardless of that, the book is incredibly readable and a great debut – although it was fairly slow at times, it didn’t fail to keep my attention. I very much enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for an enjoyable Gothic read.

My rating: 4/5


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