Half way through Catherine Bailey’s 

 I emailed my editor at an inflight magazine and said “I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS BOOK YOU NEED TO LET ME REVIEW IT.”

That might a slight exaggeration, but all caps were used in a portion of the email.

She obliged, which is why I can’t write too much about the book here – I have to save it for the review, which will run in January, the same month the book is published in the U.S. It has already been published in the U.K. and was a smashing success.

Bailey is a historian who started going through documents of the 9th Duke of Rutland because she was working on a book about the estate’s “Lost Generation” – the young men who worked there and died in WW I. While at the estate, though, she stumbled upon big family mysteries that the Duke had apparently been trying to cover up while he was dying. Correspondence for specific chunks of his life were gone, and he died in the same rooms where the records was kept.

From there, Bailey changes the focus of her book and works unravels the mystery. It’s thrilling. I had to keep checking to make sure it was a true story and not fiction.

Put it on your to-read list, especially if you’re a Downton Abbey fan since it involves the same time period, and I’ll link to the final review once it’s published.

Another funny thing: I almost passed over this book entirely. I’m sent galleys for a lot of mystery and sci fi books, and I assumed this was one of those, too. But I found myself without a book to read, and The Secret Rooms was on the top of discard pile. I’m glad I took another look.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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