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Secrets of Sloane House

Title:  Secrets of Sloane House (A Chicago World’s Fair Mystery #1)
Author:  Shelley Gray
Story Length:  316
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Zondervan
Reid Armstrong is trying to fit in to society as best he can.  His parents are middle class, but his father struck it rich with an investment in a silver mine, catapulting their wealth exponentially.  Now, after attending the best schools and learning all the intricacies of society, Reid is expected to put his training to good use as his parents want him to make a good match and marry a society belle.  Reid, however, is drawn to a maid at a friend’s house.  He learns of her mission to find her missing sister and offers to help.  He initially heeds his parents’ wishes as to his marital status, but the more time he spends with Rosalind, the more intrigued he is by her.
Rosalind Perry has arrived in Chicago to work as a maid at Sloane House where her sister used to work as well.  Her sister used to send letters and money home to their farm in Wisconsin, but then the letters suddenly stopped.  Her sister had hinted in her last couple of letters that she was afraid, but wasn’t specific as to what she was afraid of.  Rosalind’s father traveled to Chicago, trying to get some answers to his daughter’s disappearance, but was rebuffed by the Sloane family as well as the police.  Rosalind has arrived to find out the truth though she uses a different last name to sleuth undercover.  She is timid and in awe of the city and the many people there.  She doesn’t learn a whole lot about her sister, but when Reid defends her she tells him her plight.  He promises to help and gives her aid when she needs it most.  Will she ever find out what really happened to her sister?
I really wanted to like this book a lot, but the story just fell flat for me.  The two main characters didn’t come to life for me or make me care what happened to them or their relationship.  I read the summary on the back cover and thought the book would be exciting and looked forward to a good “whodunit”; however, the book didn’t live up to the synopsis.  There wasn’t much action and tension to lead up to the climax of the story.  The events didn’t seem to build on each other to ratchet up the tension, so when the mystery is solved, it just didn’t fulfill my expectations.  The setting of the Chicago World’s Fair was a great idea, and the depiction of the relationship between the wealthy and their servants in most wealthy households was accurate and well-researched.  The amount of work required of a maid was enormous and the expectations and sacrifice high, which the author showed well.  There is a brief excerpt from the next book in the series, Deception at Sable Hill, which features Eloisa Carstairs as the main character and is due to be released in the Spring of 2015 that sounds intriguing.  I look forward to the next book and hopefully that mystery will be more satisfying.
My rating is 3 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at
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