The Nature of Stammering 09/08/22
At Somerton: Secrets and Sapphires
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Spring, 1910, and the Averley family are returning to England and their ancestral home, the beautiful Somerton Court, after living a life of luxury in India. But on their arrival at Somerton, it becomes clear that there are tensions both above and below stairs. A terrible scandal has followe Lord Averley home from India - and now his beautiful, unconventional daughter Ada is torn between following her heart and protecting her father's honour. Meanwhile, her new step-brother, Sebastian, is coming increasingly close to causing a shocking scandal of his own. Watching from the sidelines, innocent housemaid Rose is intrigued and fascinated by the glamorous Averley family - but she soon finds herself more deeply involved in their lives than she could ever have anticipated.
Full of dark secrets, forbidden love affairs and shocking scandal, there are lots of unexpected surprises in store as this historical romp rattles towards its exciting conclusion. Billed as Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey, teenage fans of costume drama will be delighted by this lively and entertaining period drama, the first in a projected series. Leila Rasheed packs in plenty of melodrama, action and suspense, painting an appealing picture of the luxurious splendour of Somerton Court and London high society - including, of course, lots of fabulous debutante fashions. Yet although in many ways Secrets and Sapphires is a pleasingly frivolous read, Rasheed incorporates some more challenging and thought-provoking elements too, questioning Edwardian attitudes to race, sexuality, class and gender roles, as well as providing plenty of fun.