book review

Review: Secrets and Sapphires (At Somerton #1)

Leila Rasheed - Secrets and Sapphires

One house, two worlds, dark secrets…

The year is 1910. For the past decade, the Averley family has lived a life of luxury in India, but now they must return to Lord Averley’s ancestral estate, the sprawling, majestically beautiful Somerton Court. As the household staff hastily prepare for the family’s arrival, they receive shocking news: Lord Averley is bringing back a fiancée with three children of her own, and on top of that, there are rumours of a terrible scandal surrounding Lord Averley’s resignation as Lieutenant Governor of Bengal.

As the family settles in, tensions arise both upstairs and downstairs. Lady Ada must choose between her honour and her heart, Sebastian must fend off ruinous threats from a former servant (and lover…) and gentle housemaid Rose will find herself at the centre of a scandal so enormous it could destroy the Averleys’ reputation forever. 

I’m a huge fan of Downton Abbey, and so any book that makes me feel like I’m back in that sort of a world is a good thing. When I saw that Secrets & Sapphires wasn’t too expensive on my nook, I had to get it, and I’m quite glad that I did. This book is a fun story set in the 1910’s, and it’s full of all sorts of interesting characters. Although some parts of it were a little predictable, I really enjoyed it as a whole.

One of my main criticisms of this book was the number of characters in it. I understand the need for a large cast in this sort of book, but what wasn’t needed was so many different characters having a chapter from their perspective. Reading chapters from some of the minor characters’ PoV’s got quite confusing because it was hard to remember who the character actually was. Also, there were strange time jumps between chapters and it was hard to figure out how much time had passed between events.

However, I did enjoy the plot. It had a lot of different threads because of the amount of characters, but it didn’t get at all confusing. The plots were pretty crazy and unbelievable at times, but it didn’t really matter because it was a lot of fun. I liked it because it was so easy to read, and quite light-hearted. I also loved the amount of scandal in this book because, again, it was so much fun reading about it.

The other thing that I really liked was the characters. Although there was a huge cast, I did like the some of the main characters that I got to know properly. Rose was so adorable and lovely, and I really enjoyed reading her chapters. I also liked Lady Ada’s chapters, because there were some really nice relationships between her and other characters. The one relationship I couldn’t get behind was hers and Ravi, mainly because I felt like it was insta-love. Her love for him appeared so suddenly and I wasn’t bothered about all the drama between them.

The world was also great in this book, and visiting different places with the characters made it really interesting. I liked the little historical details in the book about different things, and it was nice that did touch upon several different topics. More detail would’ve been good with the different topics, but I still enjoyed the book.

Secrets & Sapphires is a very fun and quick read, and I would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys historical or period fiction, and also to fans of Downton Abbey.

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