Whitby, Adele. Beth’s Story, 1914 (Secrets of the Manor), illustrations by Jaime Zollars. Simon Spotlight, 2014. $16.99. 148 pages.
Lady Beth of Chatswood Manor is excited to celebrate her twelfth birthday because she will inherit a family heirloom called the Elizabeth necklace. She now has her very own lady’s maid, Shannon, who used to be a housemaid. To add to Beth’s joy, her cousin Gabrielle, from France, is coming for a visit. But Gabrielle isn’t like she remembered. She isn’t interested in talking to Beth at all or the plans for her party. Gabrielle’s locket goes missing and it is found in a laundry basket in Shannon’s room. Beth is sure Shannon is innocent, but she’ll have to prove it before Shannon is dismissed.
The book feels like “Downton Abbey” watered down for kids. The plot’s mystery was very basic and obvious. The character development was slim. However, young girls who are interested in historical fiction will probably enjoy this very light fare. Recommend to American Girl series fans.
EL-ADVISABLE. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.