Rating:

Reviewed by Grace Soledad

Wentworth Hall is wilting. While the family’s fortune may be dwindling, there are still plenty of secrets and scandals. Maggie used to be a fun, vibrant girl and is now moody and withdrawn. At least her parents don’t have to worry about her antics anymore, but somebody in the hall is trying to figure out what happened to her. Appearances are everything in the glorious Britain of 1912. An anonymously published newspaper column details every bit of their lives that are quickly falling apart. Meanwhile, Lila, Maggie’s younger sister, is jealous that Maggie gets everything and doesn’t even realize how lucky she is.

Wentworth Hall had a lot of supporting characters that did contribute to the story and their motivations competed against each other in about everything. I actually really enjoyed the character relationships but wished that the back story was more complex. Some characters complaints didn’t seem like complaints to me and they didn’t seem that real either.

I may have misled myself with Wentworth Hall. I assumed that it would be dramatic, but would also have a lot more going on. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. There was so much opportunity to elaborate, make the characters more complex, the backstory more tangled. It had so much potential. The glitzy premise and a house falling into disrepair were extremely promising. The characters started off fresh and richly composed, so I thought it would continue.

Wentworth Hall followed almost the same story line as every other book like this. It was really predictable. The framework was there. The first few chapters were fantastic. I was waiting for Abby Grahame to build on the characters, to reveal something shocking, but everything that she ended doing was just so predictable. A book like this should take risks and it just felt like Grahame was playing it safe.

The numerous points of view provided a lot of opportunities for Grahame to play with character’s perceptions of each other but these were rarely appreciated. I did enjoy the frothy drama but found myself disappointed by lost chances. If you’re a fan of The Luxe series, you may enjoy this, but if you’re looking for something deeper, I say skip it.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Grace Soledad is a teenage bibliophile who runs the blog Words Like Silver. She is described as “antisocial” because she constantly has her nose buried in a book or a notebook. When not reading, she can be found dancing, writing, or at the beach.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.