In April 1940, the ninth Duke of Rutland died in mysterious circumstances in one of the rooms of his family estate, Belvoir Castle. The mystery surrounding these rooms holds the key to a tragic story that is played out on the brutal battlefields of the Western Front and in the exclusive salons of Mayfair and Belgravia in the dying years of la belle époque. Uncovered is a dark and disturbing period in the history of the Rutland family, and one which they were determined to keep hidden for over 60 years. Sixty years on, The Secret Rooms is the true story of family secrets and one man’s determination to keep the past hidden at any cost.
©2012 Catherine Bailey (P)2012 Audible Ltd
This is on my list of best-ever reads. The author's tracking down of documents and other clues to solve the mystery of the title is beautifully paced. As she follows the trail, the two principal settings, life of the privileged upper classes and the trenches of the Western Front, are excellently depicted. She writes well and maintains the suspense throughout. Stephen Rashbrook's narration is perfect - his voice, his accent, foreign pronunciations, pace, evocation of mood - wonderful! This book and the reader are highly recommended.
A riveting book. I am not entirely certain that I agree with all of the author's conclusions, but she has done a fabulous job of detective work (a major part of the story), and this is particularly fascinating for anyone who is familiar with the era or the characters.
No one comes out looking very admirable.
The boxes of old letters the duke did not manage to destroy.
Excellent and absorbing.
Not Gothic Mystry
The Suspicions of Mr Whitcher, The Secrets of a Victorian Lady
As a paper novel, I probably would have been distracted, but the phrasing and his characters brought the story to life
I felt enlightened and ever grateful to be living in this century and not last
Despite not being a "fast-pasted, haunted mystery", as a historical journey , it unfolds the truth in an intriguing and enjoyable manner. I felt I was being told a story by a fire for my amusement, as such I tried to listen to it in as near as one go as my schedule allowed.
Tell us about yourself! Physcian in Brampton. Stong belief in the importance of books on History.If we do not learn from the past we will make the same mistakes
This is well researched book ,more like a PhD thesis than a story.It refects well the era of the First World War and the power of the nobility.
The detail like the names and size of each picture in inches listed in sales catalogue sold to raise money for the estate is truly boring and annoying.,the same can be said of other lists.
The performance was in the spirit of the book but the book was so slight that the mysterious reading was just silly.
There was nothing at its core. There was no story and no secret. It was like Northanger Abbey without the wit. The author made up a mystery about a frankly very unpleasant and unappealing aristocrat. There was nothing interesting about him except his title.
I learned how the English pronounce Belvoir, Drogheda and Buccleuch.
I wouldn't have written the book! It wasn't substantive in any way.
Frankly, it was boring. There was no great secret involved and the one secret that interested me was never explained. And there was nothing gothic about it. It's just the story of a dysfunctional aristocratic family told mostly through letters.
Something truly gothic, not like this.
The narrator was fine.
None--unless the listener is an avid fan of World War I history.
I seriously wanted my money back on this one. It was a waste of money and time. I kept waiting for something to happen and it didn't. There was nothing very mysterious about the story and certainly nothing gothic about it.
Great reader , most interestingly written
The end of the great build up was not so impressive , the facts of the story were not too strong .
Very good indeed .
Great story, occasionally choppy but overall very interesting story that I knew nothing about prior to reading this book.
"Great read. Great narration."
I have to admit to a strong partiality to Catherine Bailey's writing (I loved Black Diamonds) and this book didn't disappoint. Listening to this over the weekend of the Remembrance Sunday gave it added poignancy. The narrator was excellent! Great read!
"Fascinating family mystery/history"
I really enjoyed this book - it has intrigue, a love story, tragedy and history. Beautifully narrated at a good pace.
The only reason I haven't given it 5 is because at times it could be long-winded and there was repetition, which confused me!
I think I preferred Black Diamonds.
"It might be true but it isn't Gothic"
A historian might enjoy the book but there was no suspense and no real mystery. There wasn't really a hidden room or anything that was worth hiding.
Fine, he has a good voice and managed to read it without falling asleep.
The very worst part of the book was (I assume) half an hour reading the names if every single man who died in WW1 who had been born in, lived in or even visited Leicester. I say assume because I managed 2 minutes then fast forwarded 28 minutes and it was still going on!!!! Well done to the reader. He must have been at his wits end by then.
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