- Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
- Publication date: 9/1/2012
- Source: Book provided by the publisher for review
When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.
Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.
As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it.
Historical fiction is a genre that I don't tend to read much of, but when I do, I really enjoy them most of the time. I was really excited to get the opportunity to read and review this one. This was actually quite different than I was expecting, but in a very good way. It had a very haunting type atmosphere to it, and it left me feeling quite confused (in a good way) for most of the story. Beyond the main character Katharine, I fell for a lot of the secondary characters. They were so well developed and it was fantastic how they were woven into the story. I loved where the story went and I could see how this was able to be a stand alone, but glad that we get to continue Katharine's story in the sequel.
Katharine was a character that I very easily came to like. She is caring, but is also hard and tough, and not afraid to speak her mind. She isn't as much concerned about what is proper, as what she thinks is right or wrong. She likes to get a rise out of people who are trying to do the same to her, and does not easily back down. At first she is most concerned about what is best for her since she lives with her awful aunt, but she comes to love Stranwyne Keep and the friends she has made there. When she finds that things aren't as simple as it has been told, she decides that she must do the right thing for not only her Uncle, but the whole estate.
The other characters were just as important to this story. Her Uncle Tully, who is said to be unstable was actually one of my favorites. He is quirky for sure, and has his... ways about him, but was such an enjoyable character. Mary also was a favorite of mine. She annoyed me to no end at first, and I wasn't so sure I would like her, but I did end up really liking her. There are many others that I enjoyed too. Without them the story would not have been as fantastic as it was.
This was a book that keeps you wondering about things. I was never sure who to trust, who I could really like or not, and whether certain people really were mental or not. Yes, I did figure out who was behind certain things, but I don't think it would have been obvious to most people. I just happen to be very perceptive with little clues and such. The best thing about this book was that I could actually imagine it. I felt like I was walking through the halls, sitting in the workshop, intervening in the kitchen. I love being able to feel like I can jump right into the pages and be there. It's definitely books like this that make me wonder why I don't read more historical. This was fantastic!!
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.