The Secret Rooms

The Secret Rooms

A True Gothic Mystery

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
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At 6 am on 21 April 1940 John the 9th Duke of Rutland, and one of Britain's wealthiest men, ended his days, virtually alone, lying on a makeshift bed in a dank cramped suite of rooms in the servants' quarters of his own home, Belvoir Castle.

For weeks, as his health deteriorated, his family, his servants - even the King's doctor - had pleaded with him to come out, but he had refused.

After his death, his son and heir, Charles, the 10th Duke of Rutland, ordered that the rooms be locked up and they remained untouched for sixty years.

What lay behind this extraordinary set of circumstances?

For the first time, in The Secret Rooms , Catherine Bailey unravels a complex and compelling tale of love, honour and betrayal, played out in the grand salons of Britain's stately homes at the turn of the twentieth century, and on the battlefields of the Western Front. At its core is a secret so dark that it consumed the life of the man who fought to his death to keep it hidden.

Publisher: London : Viking ; New York : an imprint of Penguin Books, 2012.
ISBN: 9780670917556
0670917559
Branch Call Number: 942.54084 BAILE
Characteristics: ix, 466 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.

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MSGEOTECH
Dec 05, 2015

Great promise and an interesting read, interesting archival detection, but I really was expecting something other as the solution, so disappointed.

l
lpreston214
Apr 27, 2015

Insanely rich, titled and entitled British family manipulates others to ensure the continuance of their genetic line. Somehow the main crux of this story is not the jaw-dropper it's made out to be. Tragedy follows the Manners family in the beginning of the 20th century. The heir and apple of his parents' eyes dies at age 9. Although there's nothing shameful about the true cause of his death, his family prefers outsiders to think he died of tuberculosis. Though it's obvious he was not ill, they even go so far as to put this on his tombstone. After cruelly abandoning the 2nd son and new heir, his mother later manipulates anyone and everyone she can to keep him off the front lines in WWI. Though he resists at first, he later goes along with it and many years later removes all correspondence during the time to keep it secret. The gap in correspondence is discovered by the author and so the book was born. Though the 2nd half drags a bit, all is very well written and an interesting chronicle of the time.

m
marthabwaters
Mar 13, 2015

This is an example of a case where truth is just as interesting as fiction. It's the story of an aristocratic family before and after WWI and a family secret that they tried desperately to cover up. Pages turn rapidly for the first half of the book, and while the second half gets somewhat too bogged down in the minute details of WWI, this is still a really intriguing look into a family that was essentially rotten at its core, and the sense of entitlement common among aristocracy at this time. Recommended for nonfiction fans, and fans of Downton Abbey and similar period pieces.

g
gvlee
Feb 04, 2015

Reads like an extended British tabloid story on the Duke of Rutland and his family. If you love gossip on old British families, this is a book for you. I didn't make it past the first 50 pages.

n
ninigirl
May 19, 2014

Very interesting book. The beginning was very fast. The middle became a little boring and long. An interesting insight to life in that era.

Kassia_F Jul 09, 2013

I actually have not commented on a book prior to this, but I had a hard time deciding whether to read this book due to the two wildly divergent comments made about it previously, so I wanted to add a tiebreaker for anyone else who might be interested in the future. Personally, I found this book very hard to put down for the most part. The first weekend I brought it home I hardly stopped reading it. The mysteries begin immediately, and each question that is answered only leads to another one. It did start to lag a bit towards the end, but overall it is definitely worth reading.

nelson21 Apr 22, 2013

Dull & poorly written. The writer makes a very good case for a Republic.

hilarymh Feb 10, 2013

A brilliantly researched and written book which captures the era at the turn of the last century and through WW1. Hearbreaking in parts the author, who started wanting to write a book about the servants and workers on the estates belonging to the Duke of Rutland, finds gaps in the meticulously catalogued family archives that leads her on a totally different journey. It shows the dark side the British aristocracy and how they used their power. Highly recommended.

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