The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden

Everyone, it seems hides secrets. Some worse than others. This gripping story, which takes place during the 1800’s when women were considered property and quite useless for anything other than having babies and cooking meals, was quite a wonderful surprise! It begins with a young woman, who has lost her husband and has no money, so she must try and make her way alone and scared. What she becomes during this journey is someone she never pictured herself as… strong!

Margaret Lenox is a widow of just two weeks who is traveling to a new job. She is to become a governess for a young boy named Louis Eversham. Her marriage had not been a very happy one, and she was unfortunately left penniless when he died. She is very nervous but hopes this new stage in her life will bring her some happiness.

As she heads towards Hartwood Hall, her new home, to meet Louis and his mother, a widow just as she, Margaret begins to get the sense that the driver and townspeople feel the Eversham family is anything but normal. But, at this point she cannot go back. Ever.

When she arrives, she meets the servants who seem gruff and abrupt, as if they really don’t want her there. But her charge, Louis is adorable, although Mrs. Eversham seems a bit nervous, but that is to be expected. She then begins hearing stories from some of the staff about ghosts who take food, open doors and leave footprints.

As her first days go pretty well, with a few bumps in the night, she begins to adjust to a schedule and even secretly begins to favor the gardener, Paul, something she is sure will get her fired. Mrs. Eversham travels a bit and does seem to dote on her son a bit obsessively, but Margaret feels that is only because she is a single parent. Until she finds out Louis had had a sister, who died. Why was she not told of this?

But then one of the servants decides to blackmail Margaret with information she has found out about her past. She begins to demand Margaret assist her with her schemes. It seems she may perhaps be blackmailing more than just her. What is it she could possibly know about everybody?

Margaret feels at a loss as to what to do, but when a tragedy occurs at Hartwood Hall, she begins to feel a part of this very secretive household. But nothing could ever prepare her for the dark turn their lives will take and the choices she never in a million years imagined she’d need to make. It will take everything she has to stay strong not just for herself, but for this family she has grown to love.

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall is a compelling story in which our heroine shows her strength, determination and love is stronger than anyone including herself could ever have envisioned.

Thank you #NetGalley #Dutton #TheSecretsofHartwoodHall #KatieLumsden for the advanced copy.

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