Sunday, August 31, 2014

Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray -- Giveaway and Book Review

I received a copy of this book from Family Christian, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Book Description: Against the backdrop of the 1893 World's Fair, a young woman finds employment with an illustrious Chicago family--a family who may guard the secret of her sister's happiness.

I'm the first to admit that I'm picky about my tastes in historical fiction, but with a Mount TBR the size of mine, I can't waste my time on less than the best. I can handle a few fact discrepancies, ill-chosen words, or underdeveloped characters, here and there, but when the novel is so saturated that I find myself tripping over them, that's when I'm ready to call it quits.

I was put off from the very beginning by the context of the story's beginning. It starts right in the middle of a scene with little back story or character development. I was still lost on the relationship between Reid and the Sloanes at the third chapter and finding myself having to reread the first two chapters because I thought they were step-siblings.  The lack of character development was a theme throughout and made the story very difficult to follow.

Another distraction was that the author, unfortunately, chose to use uncommon words in odd places. The staff's accents were also inconsistent and irritating. It was very frustrating to read over them. I much rather prefer when an author alludes to the accent but writes it legibly, using terms like, "he drawled" or "she answered in her clipped way of speaking".

Finally, it's very difficult to take a historical story seriously when the history is glaringly off. The hymn, How Great Thou Art, is referenced as an "old hymn" and "dear to her heart". However, the very first English version of the hymn was not published until 1925! Also, the term "pipe dream" wasn't even used for the first time until just three years before this, and a young girl of limited means had likely never heard it by 1893. In addition, since the book is marketed as centered around the World's Fair, (a fact that should make it unique among other historicals) it would have been nice to find more details and curiosities about the Fair, rather than surface allusions.

All in all, I was disappointed in the story and remain a bit embarrassed for the author. However, you've got a chance to read it for yourself and see what you think. Family Christian is giving away one copy to a US reader. Enter to win on the Rafflecopter widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love to read about the 1940's, it's just so interesting to me!

    1. I enjoy this time period, as well. My daughter does too and has perfected some gorgeous WWII era hairstyles!

  2. I love historical fiction and sorry to hear that you're disappointed in this. Although I enjoy the facts, I don't really mind when the book isn't true to the dates. My favorite period to read is the Edwardian era!

    1. Oh yes! I love just about everything about the Edwardian era! Seems like such a beautiful time---I'm really into the costuming of that era.

  3. I love historical fiction. I have two favorite eras, the Civil War and WWII. These are both eras that I reenact and I enjoy learning more about the periods as well as seeing what other people think is accurate.

    1. We enjoy reenacting, as well. My husband likes medieval reenactments, while I enjoy Regency era.


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Mrs. Sarah Coller

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