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P. 1
A Place of Secrets: A Novel

A Place of Secrets: A Novel

Ratings:

3.48

(67)
|Views: 8|Likes:

A runaway bestseller in Britain with over 100,000 copies sold, a riveting historical mystery in the tradition of Kate Morton

Auction house appraiser Jude leaves London for her dream job at Starbrough Hall, an estate in the countryside, examining and pricing the manuscripts and instruments of an eighteenth-century astronomer. She is welcomed by Chantal Wickham and Jude feels close to the old woman at once: they have both lost their husbands. Hard times have forced the Wickham family to sell the astronomer's work, their land and with it, the timeworn tower that lies nearby. The tower was built as an observatory for astronomer Anthony Wickham and his daughter Esther, and it served as the setting for their most incredible discoveries.

Though Jude is far away from her life in London, her arrival at Starbrough Hall brings a host of childhood memories. She meets Euan, a famed writer and naturalist who lives in the gamekeeper's cottage at the foot of the tower, where Jude's grandfather once lived. And a nightmare begins to haunt her six-year-old niece, the same nightmare Jude herself had years ago. Is it possible that the dreams are passed down from one generation to the next? What secrets does the tower hold? And will Jude unearth them before it's too late?


A runaway bestseller in Britain with over 100,000 copies sold, a riveting historical mystery in the tradition of Kate Morton

Auction house appraiser Jude leaves London for her dream job at Starbrough Hall, an estate in the countryside, examining and pricing the manuscripts and instruments of an eighteenth-century astronomer. She is welcomed by Chantal Wickham and Jude feels close to the old woman at once: they have both lost their husbands. Hard times have forced the Wickham family to sell the astronomer's work, their land and with it, the timeworn tower that lies nearby. The tower was built as an observatory for astronomer Anthony Wickham and his daughter Esther, and it served as the setting for their most incredible discoveries.

Though Jude is far away from her life in London, her arrival at Starbrough Hall brings a host of childhood memories. She meets Euan, a famed writer and naturalist who lives in the gamekeeper's cottage at the foot of the tower, where Jude's grandfather once lived. And a nightmare begins to haunt her six-year-old niece, the same nightmare Jude herself had years ago. Is it possible that the dreams are passed down from one generation to the next? What secrets does the tower hold? And will Jude unearth them before it's too late?


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Publish date: Jan 31, 2012
Added to Scribd: Nov 08, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781429950121
List Price: $9.99 Buy Now

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bduke_15 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I liked it, but some things just seemed kind of forced. I'm glad I read it, though, and I enjoyed it.
fuzzy_pickle reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Great gothic story! I enjoyed this story within a story, going back from the past to the present. I wasn't able to guess the plot twist at the end of the story.
anglersrest_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
This book had a complex storyline and it takes great skill to weave the threads of the book separately then coming together to bring the story to conclusion.The central character is Jude, who works at a London auctioneers house and by chance answers a ringing telephone in her office. The caller wants a valuation on a fascinating collection of early astronomical books and equipment which have been passed down through his family. On establishing that the seller is living in Jude's home town , where her Grandmother, sister and niece still live Jude agrees to go and visit the seller for an assessment. Once she has arrived in Norfolk she sees the collection is a fine example of 18th Century history and immediately sets about assessing the collection, and Jude stumbles across a set of journals of the astronomer Anthony Wickham and his daughter Ester. She asks the mother of the seller if there is any more details on the family, only to be told that Wickham did not have any children. Jude is immediately curious.Meanwhile, she sees her sister and niece and is suddenly aware that her niece is having dreams. Dreams that she too experienced as a child. Was this a coincidence? The seller of the collection then confirms that he is definitely going to sell the collection and Jude is then thrust into the world of the Wickhams. There is an Folly in the grounds and Jude is intrigued. In the forest surrounding the property she meets Euan, who by chance lives in the cottage her Grandmother lived in and we start to see the gentle threads of the complex story forming. Ester's journal is in some parts a summary of her early life, found as a young child by Wickham she is adopted as his heir, but later on we see that, after Wickham's death his wishes are not carried out. Over the course of a little more than 450 pages Rachel Hore weaves a complex story in which the lives of the Wickhams and Jude's family are connected, added to that are connections to other characters who do not appear until later in the book.This book has been painstakingly written, and although a work fiction there has been research undertaken using the methods available as if the storyline were real. Certainly my best read of the year so far and I am looking forward to more from this author.
susiesharp_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I received this book from Librarything Early Review Program and with so much going on in my life I’ve gotten behind on my ER’s so I picked this one up on audio and am very glad I did as Jilly Bond’s narration was really good, so this will be a review of the book and the narration. Recently widowed antique appraiser Jude is trying to get on with her life but she can’t stop thinking of her husband so she decides to take a working vacation to look at some old astronomy texts and equipment and this is when the coincidences start. The estate where these things are is where Jude’s Great Grandfather was groundskeeper and where her Grandmother grew up, but she doesn’t like to talk too much about that time of her life except that there was a gypsy girl. It is also close to her sister and niece who seem to be having the same dreams Jude had as a child. Is that possible? And what is her grandmother hiding? Also why does this place look like the dreams Jude had as a child?I thought the author did a great job at weaving the past and present storylines together and the mystery of the dreams and what happened to Esther in the 1700’s. I enjoyed the mystery of Esther, this 18th century foundling adopted by rich amateur astronomer they are a happy father and daughter and he seems to love sharing his love of the stars with her, but her story isn’t always a happy one and when Jude finds her journals she starts to unlock the mystery of Esther’s life. This has a magical realism feel to it with the astrology and the dreams. It also has a touch of romance but it doesn’t over power the book. I enjoyed this new to me author’s writing style and will definitely read more by her.If you are a fan of Kate Morton or Susanna Kearsley I think you will like this book it has the same kind of feel to it with the present story mixed in with the past.Narrator Jilly Bond brought this story to life for me, her voices were well done and her male & female characters weren’t overdone. I was impressed with her work and will seek out other books narrated by her.4 Stars
indygo88 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I was not familiar with this author, but the book description sucked me in, and although it was a little slow to begin with, the pace picked up & kept going. This doesn't really fall into one specific genre, I don't think. There's a little history, a little mystery, some subtle romance, and an English countryside setting. Altogether, a nice combination. Probably my biggest complaint about this novel was its title. Not sure what I would've titled it, but "A Place of Secrets" seems underwhelming. However, I certainly enjoyed this well enough to look for others by this author.
countrylife_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Spellbound. I really enjoyed this read. Norfolk, England, and Ms. Hore’s fictional Starbrough estate were so real in my mind, I had a hard time walking back out of her story. Good characterization, too, in that the book was peopled with those whose motivations felt real, (although some felt typecast, from the benevolent adoptive father, to the wicked, conniving sister). For the auction house where she works, Jude’s current project involves valuing a family’s holdings of antique and rare astronomy books. To heighten appeal for the auction, she researches the history of the family and comes upon a mystery, which leads to another, which leads to another. It didn’t bother me a bit that the coincidences were highly implausible, or that everything wrapped up so tidily by the end. In tying all the threads together, the author created a spellbinding story. In dual time lines from the late 1700’s and the early 2000s, the backbone of the story rests in astronomy, with dreams, sisters, gypsies, a folly, and a journal playing their parts. I was just of a mood to toss aside reality for a while and ride this suspenseful story wherever it took me. And I really enjoyed the ride.
aviddiva_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I enjoyed this story of a contemporary rare book expert and an18th century astronomer. Although the tension was mostly not very tense, all the different lives wound satisfactorily around one another like the astronomer's orrery sphere. In fact, there were so many people involved by the end that the relationships got a bit difficult to sort out, but all the major characters had their plot lines resolved, so I guess I can't complain too much. An enjoyable read with a bit of romance, a nice bit of astronomy, and just enough historical mystery to keep the story going.
bookbets50 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I am usually drawn to stories about old English houses and the mysteries they can contain, which is why I wanted to read this book. I found it to be pleasant but slow; honestly, I lost interest once I started reading about the six-year-old girl with dreams similar to her aunts...it just did not ring true to me. I did like the parts about the old books and instruments, but the rest of the story did not grip me.
amy2011_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I won this book from goodreads first reads program.This was a wonderful engrossing read for me.The story for me is about so many things friendship,sisterhood,family,love,loss,mystery.This book was a wonderful mix of historical fiction mixed with the modern day.I don't want to give away spoilers for the book so I will try my best.The book reminded me a bit of gothic mystery novels I have read mixed with a mystery romance novel.I loved this book very much and couldn't wait for Jude to find the next clue from the past.I highly recommend the book and I plan on reading more from this author for sure.My feelings after reading the book are a bit sad because the story is over I wish there was more.
beamis12 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Slow paced but interesting book with history, astronomy, and old estate and family secrets. Loved reading about the auction house and their inner workings as well as the pressure they are under financially. Good read but think it would have benefited by upping the pacing of the story a bit.

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A Place of Secrets: A Novel
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