Manor of Secrets

Manor of Secrets

3.4 5
by Katherine Longshore

View All Available Formats & Editions

The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she


The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Longshore (Gilt; Tarnish) will delight fans of British period pieces à la Downton Abbey as she introduces 16-year-old Lady Charlotte Edmonds and Janie Seward, a kitchen maid, both of whom yearn to throw caution to the wind. Charlotte's mother, Lady Diane, plans for her to marry Lord Andrew Broadhurst, the dull but stable heir to an earldom, who will assure that Charlotte's dreams are confined to her imagination. After living in extreme poverty with her relatives, Janie is reunited with her mother in the manor's kitchen. While Janie loves to cook, she feels displaced, and house rules forbid her to act on her growing affection for a childhood friend. Charlotte's loneliness and a burgeoning interest in a dashing new footman draw her downstairs, where she and Janie form a clandestine partnership to uncover the meaning behind an unexpected visitor's arrival. Drama between servants, an approaching shooting party and ball, and the interlacing of social classes thicken the plot. Longshore excels at switching between the girls' perspectives as she intimately explores two richly detailed worlds. Ages 12–up. Agent: Catherine Drayton, Inkwell Management. (Jan.)
VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Caitlin Augusta
Sixteen-year-old Lady Charlotte Edmonds cannot accept her mother’s vision of her future. Lady Diane wants her to marry Lord Andrew Broadhurst and take her place in society. Charlotte wants to write and travel and rebels against the prescribed limits placed on women of her social class. Matters reach a breaking point when Charlotte befriends Janie Seward, a kitchen worker, and enlists her to figure out the simmering tensions between Lady Diane and her sister Lady Beatrice. Janie introduces Charlotte to the limitations of her class—one impropriety and Janie would be dismissed and thrown out of the manor. When Charlotte catches the eye of the footman Lawrence, Janie worries that the attraction could prove disastrous for them both. In the end, however, secrets from upstairs and downstairs intertwine with unexpected revelations for Charlotte and Janie. Longshore’s story of societal expectations versus personal freedom will be well received by young fans of Downton Abbey and Libba Bray. The precise time period is not mentioned, although the author’s website describes it as “Edwardian.” While Longshore includes many historical details, the vague setting may cause devoted historical fiction readers some small confusion. The way Longshore resolves Charlotte and Janie’s quest for freedom is a little pat; many people’s past sins are forgiven rather quickly in the final chapters. Still, teens will relate to the desire to step outside the lines of propriety. For an intriguing look at identity and belonging, Longshore presents a credible attempt with likable characters. Reviewer: Caitlin Augusta; Ages 12 to 18.
Children's Literature - Kim Dare
Sixteen-year-old Lady Charlotte is the daughter of The Manor in turn-of-the-century England. She is being raised to take her place in polite society and marry well—boring Lord Andrew Broadhurst if her mother gets her way—but Charlotte dreams of adventure. Escaping a garden party one day, she runs into Lawrence, the handsome footman, and when she gets mud on her dress, he and kitchen maid Janie help her sneak back into the house. Charlotte imagines that their world is much more appealing than her own, and strikes up a friendship with Janie, asking the servant to help gather information on Charlotte’s recently-arrived and sophisticated Aunt Beatrice. Janie is torn: she understands the divide between servants and masters better than Charlotte, and does not want to jeopardize her job. Her mother, the cook, has been offered a position elsewhere, and Janie is uncertain about where that leaves her. Slowly the two girls get to know each other better, and learn they are more alike than they thought. They also discover that the men they had taken for granted (Lord Andrew for Charlotte; hall boy Harry for Janie) might deserve a second look. While the characters are fairly shallow and the ending excessively neat, fans of Downton Abbey who are looking for light historical romance will enjoy getting to know the residents of The Manor, both upstairs and downstairs. Reviewer: Kim Dare; Ages 13 up.
Kirkus Reviews
Upstairs, Lady Charlotte pines for a more adventurous, purposeful life, while downstairs, kitchen maid Janie doesn't allow herself to consider any possibilities other than servitude. The Manor is home to the Edmondses and all of the servants they require. Charlotte, age 16, understands that her mother, the icy Lady Diane wants her to marry dull Lord Andrew, but it's a handsome footman who catches her eye and kisses her. She also forges a friendship with maid Janie, drawn to her adventurousness as well as her practical skills, though the admiration is not mutual. Alternating chapters reflect the two girls' perspectives. The arrival of Charlotte's cosmopolitan aunt, the Lady Beatrice, creates new questions in Charlotte's mind about societal expectations and also about the mysterious coolness between Beatrice and Diane. References to corsets, airplanes, Worth gowns and "suffragettes" place the tale around 1910, as Old World values were beginning to shift. Longshore works in interesting details about period food and clothing, but characters' speech and behavior often seem off, as, for instance, when servants riff on Shakespeare and the oh-so-proper Lady Diane refers to a "shiner." The choppy prose style relies heavily on sentence fragments: "This was a test. Of her fortitude. But also of her ability to disregard the wall that separated mistress from servant." Pitched for Downton Abbey fans but lacking both the style and the accuracy. (Historical romance. 12-16)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—A divisive wall exists between the upstairs and downstairs quarters of the English Manor where Lady Charlotte Edmonds, 16, and kitchen servant Janie Seward reside. Charlotte yearns for an adventure beyond the stringent structure of upper-crust society, while her new friend Janie seems content to remain a cook. Neither suspects the secrets that lurk within the manor when Charlotte's mysterious Aunt Beatrice comes to visit. Reminiscent of the British television series Upstairs Downstairs, the plot starts at a leisurely pace, providing a detailed portrait of the daily mechanisms of 19th-century manor life and how both classes coexist. Longshore captures the tension expressed by Charlotte and Janie in their efforts to cope with limitations and unfulfilled dreams. She compares the harsh, never-ending workday of one paired with the other's tediously predictable station in life. The novel's dominant theme emerges midway through when hidden truths appear beneath masklike facades. Andrew Broadhurst, Charlotte's intended, is not as dull as he first seems, nor is Lawrence, the footman, truly worth Charlotte's lifelong devotion. Despite a predictably happy ending, the message is clear: people are far more complex than they appear on the surface, no matter their class or station in life. This is a light historical romance.—Etta Anton, Yeshiva of Central Queens, NY

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Katherine Longshore is a former costume designer, coffee house barista and preschool teacher who has finally found her calling writing historical fiction for teens. She is the author of GILT, TARNISH, and BRAZEN, a series of novels set in the court of Henry VIII published by Viking. After five years exploring castles and country manors in England, she now lives in California with three British citizens and one expatriate dog. Visit her online at

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Manor of Secrets 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
MouseyBL More than 1 year ago
Cute story, a very light read. Manor of Secrets is about two girls who live in the same big house, but a very different life. There is Lady Charlotte Edmonds, the only girl in the Edmonds household and isn't the favorite of Lady Diane her mother. Charlotte is beautiful, rich and very sheltered to the point where she feels almost stifled. She is only about 16-years-old and already her mother is pressuring her to marry and to marry well. Janie is the cooks daughter, she is daring, hardworking and smart. She lives her life working as the kitchen maid in the basement downstairs and isn't allowed upstairs until her life somehow crosses with Charlotte's. A story about friendship and two girl's who just want something different in their life, who just want to find themselves. It isn't spectacular, and the writing is very simplistic and almost feels like it's for younger audiance. But I thought it was a sweet story.There wasn't an over abundance of romance, but there is romance and mistakes as the girls just fumble their way through life as they tackle the challenges and question their positions that both of them had been born into. I did enjoy Janie a lot more then Charlotte, I found her a bit more mature If you are looking for a light read and enjoy historical fiction with a little bit of mystery thrown into it, this simple yet sweet story could probably for-fill that need. **Thank you Point for providing me a physical copy in exchange of an honest review. Original Post on Lily Pond Reads
book4children More than 1 year ago
This is a good, clean historical book that teens will enjoy. Lady Charlotte is an imaginative and slightly rebellious teenager living in a time and place that tolerates neither imagination nor rebellion—especially in women. She feels trapped by her mother's expectations, society's expectations, and the Manor she calls home. And then she meets Janie, the kitchen maid who wants nothing more than to stay and work at The Manor for the rest of forever. She doesn't want anything to change. There is a fun upstairs/downstairs dynamic in the book that's become popular recently. But unlike other books, this one didn't overdo the number of characters. They were developed well enough that I didn't have trouble remembering who was who. It was also a clean read. I can't tell you how much I appreciate seeing a clean young adult book. They are far too uncommon. Some of the ideas and themes could have been developed more. I didn't get a great sense of the change that was supposedly coming. It would have been nice to have the mysteries behind Aunt Beatrice developed more. As it was, she popped up a few times, but didn't have much to do with anything until the very end. The ending was very dramatic and didn't fit with the rest of the book very well. It was over the top whereas the rest of the book hadn't been. I didn't like the way a couple characters took the blame for everything that happened when Charlotte was just as much at fault (if not more so). That being said, I still liked the book a lot. It's a good book and will appeal to teen girls that enjoy Downton Abbey, historical fiction, and romance. Content: Clean, but there is some kissing. Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
pagese More than 1 year ago
For the most part I like my historical fiction to be accurate and true to details. But, occasionally I like one that may be a little bit more modern. I want the intrigue and setting, but I want it to be fun. That's what this was. I always love it when a Victoria young lady wants to buck the normal. I think it's because I imagine that I would do the same. So Lady Charlotte really struck a cord with me. She doesn't want to be sold away to the highest bidder in a lackluster marriage. She wants to see the world and embrace all it has to offer. It's not wonder that she latches on to her wayward aunt (one who seems to be wrapped in some sort of scandal), when she suddenly comes to visit. She also seems to not care about position and rank, something I imagine is very hard to overcome. I wasn't as fond of Janie, but it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I just didn't connect with her as much. I found it interesting that I found her more cynical and condescending than Charlotte. I'm sure her circumstances have lead to her attitude, but I think her eyes were really opened when Charlotte decided to enlist her help. As for the manor secrets...really they're pretty obvious. I don't think the author was really trying to hide them. If you've read this type of story at all, you probably have idea of what's coming. I found the way the author presented the events to fit the story. I enjoy Katherine Longshore's work so far. I need to catch up on her other series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first started reading this book, it struck me as being very "Downton Abbey"; so much so that it lacked the magic of the series. I wasn't even sure that I would finish it. Then came Chapter 3 and I was compelled to keep reading. Bits of the story seemed very rushed which lead me to wonder if this is a self-contained story or if it is intended to be part of a serial. Please note that I based my star rating on my Goodreads review: 2 stars equals "it was okay". Thank you to the publisher; I received a copy of this book via NetGalley for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a geart book!!!