Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Secret Rooms, A Review - 3 out 5 Stars

The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret - Catherine Bailey

Catherine Bailey arrived at Belvoir Castle in the year of 2008 to research a book about that part of England during the First World War. Upon arriving at the castle she discovered that the Muniment Rooms or "The Secret Rooms" as the servants at the castle had called them was where John, the 9th Duke of Rutland, had died. As a wealthy man, the idea that a Duke had preferred to die in a room where there was only a stone fire and on a simple couch nonetheless was intriguing. Why had he not been recovering and resting in his bedroom or one of the many stately rooms in his castle?  Why had he preferred to die in a cold room with only a few people attending to him? Catherine found it odd but decided to get on with researching her book about the war but there was one problem, the letters she had depended on and was hoping would shed light on the years of the war were meticulously missing from the archives in the Muniment Rooms.  This led her on a different path altogether and the result of her research and her findings are found in this book. The first part of the book is spent asking questions and trying to find answers to the different discrepancies that are found on the "official" stories that were put forth when the John's father was the Duke of Rutland. I was enthralled from the first page, intrigue, mystery, secrecy, lies, what else was there to ask for.I enjoyed the insight of how a wealthy and influential family worked in that era. The first part of the book went by at a quick pace and I could hardly put it down, by the last quarter of the book I was having trouble getting through it. The author revealed the last mystery in agonizing detail and because of this I am giving it 3 stars instead of 4. Overall it is a great and entertaining true story. 

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