“The Secrets of Hartwood Hall” by Katie Lumsden – Book Review

I’m always keen to try new authors, and this debut novel was a corker! Anyone who enjoyed “Mrs. England” by Stacey Halls will probably love this one.

Hartwood Hall is an isolated and somewhat dilapidated manor in Somersetshire, England. It is 1852 and Margaret Lennox is only recently widowed from her husband of three years, the Reverend Richard Lennox. We join the story when Margaret comes to Hartwood to fill the position of governess to ten-year-old Louis Eversham. Louis is a bright boy but he is very lonely. His mother, also a widow, is very protective of him and he has no friends of his own age.

“…too many locks and too many secrets”.

Margaret settles into the household nicely. She is fond of her young charge. However… one of the maids at Hartwood discovers one of Margaret’s secrets and meanly holds it over her as blackmail! Margaret has many secrets, as does her employer Mrs. Eversham. As the title implies, Hartwood Hall itself is riddled with secrets as well. The east wing is off limits to all. The superstitious residents of the nearest village believe the Hall to be haunted and a place of evil. When illness comes to Hartwood Hall all of its residents are tested.

This debut novel was an homage to the classic novel “Jane Eyre”, though written with a feminist slant. I was totally engrossed while reading it, and would recommend it to all historical fiction fans. I’m eager to see what this young author comes up with next.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Dutton (Penguin Random House) via NetGalley.

ISBN: 9780593186923 – ASIN: ‎ ‎ B0B44T96XR – 352 pages

Katie Lumsden read Jane Eyre at the age of thirteen and never looked back. She spent her teenage years devouring nineteenth century literature, reading every Dickens, Brontë, Austen and Hardy novel she could find. She has a degree in English literature and history from the University of Durham and an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University. Her short stories have been shortlisted for the London Short Story Prize and the Bridport Prize. Katie’s YouTube channel, Books and Things, has 25,000 subscribers.

She lives in London, England and works as an editor. The Secrets of Hartwood Hall is her debut novel.

Connect with Katie Lumsden on Twitter, Instagram, BookTube or her website.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, debut novels, gothic fiction, Historical fiction, NetGalley and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to “The Secrets of Hartwood Hall” by Katie Lumsden – Book Review

  1. Afternoon, Lynne. It will be interesting to see if she writes more novels, or if she has said pretty much all she has to say with this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve definitely intrigued me Lynne!


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