Book Review: “Secrets of Sloane House” by Shelley Gray

October 21, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Posted in Books | Leave a comment
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Shelley Gray in her new book, “Secrets of Sloane House book coverSecrets of Sloane House” Book One in The Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series published by Zondervan takes us into the life of Rosalind Perry.

From the back cover:  Against the backdrop of the 1893 World’s Fair, a young woman finds employment with an illustrious Chicago family—a family who may guard the secret of her sister’s disappearance.

Sloane House is among the most gilded mansions of Gilded Age Chicago. Rosalind Perry, the new housemaid, pours the morning coffee before the hard gaze of her mistress.

“It’s simple, Rosalind,” she says. “I am Veronica Sloane, heiress to one of the country’s greatest fortunes. You are simply one in a long line of unsuitable maids.”

Back on the farm in Wisconsin, Rosalind’s plan had seemed logical: Move to Chicago. Get hired on at Sloane House. Discover what transpired while her sister worked as a maid there—and follow the clues to why she disappeared.

Now, as a live-in housemaid to the Sloanes, Rosalind realizes her plan had been woefully simple-minded.

She was ignorant of the hard, hidden life of a servant in a big, prominent house; of the divide between the Sloane family and the people who served them; and most of all, she had never imagined so many people could live in such proximity and keep such dark secrets.

Yet, while Sloane House is daunting, the streets of Chicago are downright dangerous. The World’s Fair has brought a new kind of crime to the city . . . and a lonely young woman is always at risk. But when Rosalind accepts the friendship of Reid Armstrong, the handsome young heir to a Chicago silver fortune, she becomes an accidental rival to Veronica Sloane.

As Rosalind continues to disguise her kinship to the missing maid—and struggles to appease her jealous mistress—she probes the dark secrets of Sloane House and comes ever closer to uncovering her sister’s mysterious fate. A fate that everyone in the house seems to know . . . but which no one dares to name.

Welcome to 1893 Chicago and The World’s Fair. It is a real shame that they do not have World’s Fairs anymore as they have a certain elegance and activities that you get nowhere else. The 1893 Fair was one of the standouts and it is into this world that Rosalind enters. She is a girl from a farm in Wisconsin and is a fish out of water in big city Chicago.  Add to this the social split between the rich, whom Rosalind works for, and the poor, which Rosalind is, and you have a lot of tension. Plus Sloan House is loaded with mystery and secrets and nobody seems to want the real truth about what happened to Rosalind’s sister to get out. On top of everything there is a romance. In the hands of a lesser author working with all these elements might not work but Ms. Gray is so skillful this story shines brightly.  Ms. Gray makes you care for all the characters and their journey.  It is watching all of this happen that is just plain fun and exciting.  Well done Ms. Gray.

You can find “Secrets of Sloane House” at a discount at

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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