09 March 2016

Shelley Gray's Secrets of Sloane House - Audiobook Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels



Secrets of Sloane House Book Blurb: Against the backdrop of the 1893 World’s Fair, a young woman finds employment with an illustrious Chicago family—a family who may guard the secret of her sister’s disappearance.

Sloane House is among the most gilded mansions of Gilded Age Chicago. Rosalind Perry, the new housemaid, pours the morning coffee before the hard gaze of her mistress.

“It’s simple, Rosalind,” she says. “I am Veronica Sloane, heiress to one of the country’s greatest fortunes. You are simply one in a long line of unsuitable maids.”

Back on the farm in Wisconsin, Rosalind’s plan had seemed logical: Move to Chicago. Get hired on at Sloane House. Discover what transpired while her sister worked as a maid there—and follow the clues to why she disappeared.

Now, as a live-in housemaid to the Sloanes, Rosalind realizes her plan had been woefully simple-minded.

She was ignorant of the hard, hidden life of a servant in a big, prominent house; of the divide between the Sloane family and the people who served them; and most of all, she had never imagined so many people could live in such proximity and keep such dark secrets.
Ferris Wheel from the Chicago World's Fair


My review of Secrets of Sloane House: This book was well done but pretty dark as it was dealing with a gritty topic. What would you do if your sister went missing while working as a servant in the home of a prominent Chicago family? And what would you do if your father went to investigate and was given the runaround by the family and the police. Wisconsin farmgirl, Rosalind seeks to find the answers by becoming a maid in the Sloane household. Her reactions are well written and the narrator did a great job of bringing the character to life.

I listened to a download of Secrets of Sloane house from audible.com.  I had also purchased a kindle copy last year when it released but ended up busy writing my own books (and recovering from major surgery!), but after learning this year that there was an audiobook I listened to that, instead and was rewarded with a very good listen. This was a little dark for my taste in general but Ms. Gray does a good job of not dwelling upon each attack's detail. However, that results in the sensation of the crimes almost feeling trivialized, although I am sure that isn't the intention. There's a fine balance in Christian fiction to address difficult realities of a story without crossing the line. If you enjoy a little edgier suspense this is well written and you'll enjoy the narrator, too.

This has been an interesting series. I'm glad I listened to the second book first. It is much more uplifting. As a psychologist for twenty-five years, I've heard enough tragic stories to last me a lifetime but I wanted to listen to this book, too, and I'm glad I did.

Question: Do you prefer edgier/grittier fiction and if so, why?

10 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for the interesting and honest review, CARRIE! Shelley is one of my favorite authors. I started one of the books in this series, but I didn't finish it. I can't remember why atm. I guess I am just used to Shelley Shepard Gray's Amish books. I can do edgier fiction as long as it isn't too dark and depressing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This did venture toward the dark and depressing at times but then popped back away from it. Shelley is very talented. It is hard to write a story like this. If the audiobook hadn't been so engaging I may have stopped listening, but it was very well done.

      Delete
  2. Great review, Carrie - thank you!!

    "Secrets of Sloane House" has an interesting, intriguing story line - definitely something different for Shelley Shepard Gray. I love edgier fiction when it is written with a resolution that involves redemption through God's love. But as with Diana, don't want it dark or depressing. Dealing with controversial, realistic topics through fiction gives us an awareness and insight into people with problems that may be quite different from our own, help us become more understanding and sympathetic, and better able to reach out to them. I do understand that it may be less appealing to you after working as a psychologist for so many years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know this type of fiction appeals to you Bonnie. I think this could potentially be of some bibliotherapy use but I didn't even "go there" on the review because there is this touch and go approach that I think for a survivor wouldn't be helpful. Maybe more helpful to someone who has loved ones murdered or assaulted.

      Delete
  3. Great review! This one's on my list to read. I just finished my "first" (really my second, but the first was a test one on a book I've already read) audiobook I plan on reviewing. It's quite different. Love your audiobook reviews. Gives me an idea of how the stories are listening vs reading. And this one sure sounds good!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Annie. Oftentimes a listen is SO different from a read. This narrator really helps the story along because she is so compelling a voice actress!

      Delete
  4. Thank you for a great review. Edgier is sometimes a nice change but a great books from great authors are the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree -- edgy books for the sake of being edgy aren't the right approach. I don't see that in this book, it really does "feel" like this is just the way the story unfolded.

      Delete
  5. Thanks for your enticing and honest review, Carrie! I am SO intrigued after reading about this that this is another one that will be added to my TBR list. I don't necessarily gravitate towards edgier/grittier fiction but I sure don't mind it, especially when it's done well. I only read suspense fiction when it's tempered by romance however! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should have stated that the romance was very well done in this story, Noela. I bet you would enjoy Secrets of Sloane House.

      Delete

Google Analytics