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The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery Audiobook

The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (149 )
5 star
 (46)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.6 (136 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (136 )
5 star
 (59)
4 star
 (39)
3 star
 (24)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    Tm P. 12-10-14
    Tm P. 12-10-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    Story
    "Bait and switch, with a Victorian package"
    What disappointed you about The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery?

    There really isn't much of a mystery - a lot of build-up is made then revealed to be mundane, not-particularly-unique life events. Also, it was WAY too long - there were well written and entertaining sections that might have made up for the lack of substance, had there been a competent editor working with the author.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Catherine Bailey again?

    Probably not - this was such a let down.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Performance of the reader was good, he just had very little to work with.


    What character would you cut from The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery?

    Sadly, character needs to be ADDED in order to make this book more enjoyable.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is so much NOT what it says it is. I suppose if it was properly titled "Family Letters of English Minor Aristocracy during the early 20th Century" it wouldn't have sold very well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlotte HONOLULU, HI, United States 08-22-14
    Charlotte HONOLULU, HI, United States 08-22-14 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So deadly flat a reading, I fell asleep."
    What disappointed you about The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery?

    I love Gothic Mysteries, I could not tell you what this one is about as the reading of it is so bad I simply could not stay with the story. I tried Three times to listen to this and never made past a few chapters, of which I slept through most.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    No idea.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Flat, toneless, no inflection, no life.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I wish I knew, the reader was so bad I couldn't stay with it.


    Any additional comments?

    I would love to hear this book with a different reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 06-10-14
    Jennifer 06-10-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Historically mysterious with lots of intrigue"

    History buffs and mystery buffs this is a must read Loved the rich details and the story line
    great plot and detailing of characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Moonglotexas South Africa 09-12-13
    Moonglotexas South Africa 09-12-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Gently paced, historical journey"
    If you could sum up The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery in three words, what would they be?

    Not Gothic Mystry


    What other book might you compare The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery to and why?

    The Suspicions of Mr Whitcher, The Secrets of a Victorian Lady


    What does Stephen Rashbrook bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    As a paper novel, I probably would have been distracted, but the phrasing and his characters brought the story to life


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I felt enlightened and ever grateful to be living in this century and not last


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon 04-27-13
    Sharon 04-27-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very interesting"
    Where does The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Great story, occasionally choppy but overall very interesting story that I knew nothing about prior to reading this book.


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tally 12-02-12
    Tally 12-02-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Northanger Abbey comes to live"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The performance was in the spirit of the book but the book was so slight that the mysterious reading was just silly.


    What was most disappointing about Catherine Bailey’s story?

    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.


    What does Stephen Rashbrook bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I learned how the English pronounce Belvoir, Drogheda and Buccleuch.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery?

    I wouldn't have written the book! It wasn't substantive in any way.


    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger Waco, TX, United States 04-14-13
    Roger Waco, TX, United States 04-14-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Disappointing"
    What disappointed you about The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery?

    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.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something truly gothic, not like this.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narrator was fine.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    None--unless the listener is an avid fan of World War I history.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    whcrafter Shah Alam, Malaysia 12-04-12
    whcrafter Shah Alam, Malaysia 12-04-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Very enjoyable but light on story ."
    What made the experience of listening to The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery the most enjoyable?

    Great reader , most interestingly written


    What was most disappointing about Catherine Bailey’s story?

    The end of the great build up was not so impressive , the facts of the story were not too strong .


    What about Stephen Rashbrook’s performance did you like?

    Very good indeed .


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No .


    Any additional comments?

    no

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MickeyMarie Narnia 05-03-13
    MickeyMarie Narnia 05-03-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "NOT IMPRESSED"

    This was written in such a boring way that it ruined any interest there might have been.

    1 of 9 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • sarahm
    9/17/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enthralling story , excellent narration."

    Excellent narration, enjoyed the first part of the book the best, feeling really intrigued by the mystery in the story. Later on I sometimes felt a little confused with all the comings & goings concerning the war and the many letters & perhaps the author over emphasised this aspect ( just a little) to illustrate the point of the story. Overall though really enjoyed this title.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    5/20/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "captivating until the last"

    An unusual account of a a in full family history. kept me gripped throughout. Excellent narrator bought the characters to life. The only thing is that there were some loose ends but it is real life! well written . I am a confirmed Catherine Bailey fan. Can't wait for more of the same

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chantal
    Netherlands
    1/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It does get better if you persevere"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The first half of the book is intended to sound like a mystery thriller, the intrepid search for the truth behind certain gaps in the record left behind by John, the 9th Duke of Rutland. Catherine Bailey does not succeed in making it sound anything more than an expose of how tedious it can be to research a novel. Nevertheless, the second half of the novel is given more to the subject of the book than her own investigations and here the book becomes interesting. If the book had been written as a biography of this Duke instead of trying to make the writer sound like a rather boring character in a spy novel I think the pace of the book would have been much faster and the general impression less irritating.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The descriptions of life at the front with the gruesome casualty records make for mind-boggling reading even though the scale of killing in the Second World War is obviously even more horrific.


    Could you see The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    If the writers left out the part played by Catherine Bailey and stuck to the history of the family I think this would make for a reasonable costume drama.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. DS
    England
    1/18/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Part two a blank."

    Delighted, after my enjoyment of Black Diamonds to see this on Audible. Very disappointed not to be able to hear the second part of another fascinating tale by Catharine Bailey because the second download was silent. There were hiccups in part one but not irredeemable. Does no one ever check the recording? Must customers be the testers? This is increasingly the case in app upgrades but I do not expect it for something I pay for.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • E. A. Williams
    England
    10/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A little confusing sometimes, but AMAZING"
    If you could sum up The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery in three words, what would they be?

    I don't do three words: I'd sum up by saying these family secrets are true; we've come to expect secrets/revelations to be of the costume drama variety and many seem disappointed when they are perhaps not on that scale. But these secrets/revelations are true, and the fact that at least one - if not two - would have been illegal/serious criminal offences surely cannot make them run-of-the-mill as some reviewers have suggested.


    What other book might you compare The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery to, and why?

    Black Diamonds also by Catherine equally deals with the history of a landed gentry family.


    What about Stephen Rashbrook’s performance did you like?

    His performance was excellent and kept me riveted, even through the more difficult parts.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I had an incredible emotional reaction to the book when - having had a wonderful visit to Haddon Hall only weeks earlier - realised two of the figures being discussed were the two figures who had captured my imagination with their tragic story during my Haddon visit. It really made the entire story 3-dimensional from that point onwards.


    Any additional comments?

    Having recently become very acquainted with the story of two key figures from the book at Haddon Hall, this was an absolutely riveting listen for me. I would have given it five stars (particularly for the narration) save for the fact that I do think Catherine had lost the structure somewhat as so many things came to light.

    It should be remembered this book came out completely differently to the book Catherine was actually researching; and so the revelations as discovered take the book in different directions. Some reviewers have commented this 'bogged it down'/made it confusing - I didn't find this was the case, but felt that - as with any researcher coming across pieces of information that need to be later linked together - we were presented with Catherine's raw research as she found it rather than 'tidy stories+summaries'. I can understand this would be irksome to people who like stories to be clean and neat - but this is the truth about a family, not a Downton Abbey episode. Some of the items discovered cannot be concluded because the evidence is not there to do so, and I admire Catherine that she had the courage to simply present the evidence and leave things open, allowing you to consider what may have happened instead of surmising a conclusion that could be totally untrue.

    The only reason I have dropped a star is because the book presented the discoveries in the order Catherine discovered them yet wasn't particularly a book about Catherine as a researcher. Therefore items ran into each other in the order they were found, not a chronological order (i.e. we jumped about between the death of a Duke, his army career, back to a tragedy in his childhood and early life, back to the army, over to Charles I ciphers, then family feuds, etc). So, it was sometimes hard to keep track of what was discovery was linking to what. But I think the key is to remember this is all true: and if the evidence isn't there to provide a convenient Downton Abbey conclusion it's actually quite exciting to be left with 'well, what do I think happened!'.

    If you like clean, drama-series stories and conclusions you probably won't like this; but if you would love to listen to the findings of a meticulous researcher who presents her findings and then says 'so what do you make of that then?' and you won't necessarily have a concluding answer because that evidence isn't there, you will love it.

    Personally, in relation to just one of the revelations - having visited Haddon Hall and been touched by the personal tragedy the family experienced, the book gave me some understanding as to why - through unimaginable grief and a complete misunderstanding - John's mother may have reacted to him the way she did in his early life. Not to condone their parental actions at all (they were terrible and tragic) but - when grief can be described as a madness of the mind - the book can explain and give understanding to them, and show the terrible effects such a loss can have.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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