Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cinders & Sapphires, by Leila Rasheed

Although Rose is the daughter of a staff person at Somerton, she has always been treated like one of the daughters of Lord Westlake.  She grew up with Ada and Georgianna, and is excited for their return to the estate.  When they do return, she is given the position of the girls' ladies maid, and over time learns that there are many secrets at Somerton, everyone has secrets.  Even Rose.

I went into this book knowing it was inspired by Downton Abbey, but geared more toward young adult readers.  I was fairly sure I would like it, and my hunch proved correct.  There are several storylines going on at once, it seems like each character almost, has their own story going, so the book sets up the series well, foreshadowing future installments covering these different character arcs.  The plot did seem a tiny bit busy, with a lot of characters who were introduced and not well developed.  I found this to be the particular case among the characters composing the staff of the estate.  Most of the family characters are pretty well developed, and clearly the focus of most of the action.

I felt the book was a quick read.  The writing is clean, the action is swift, and the storyworld is vivid.  It helps that I am a Downton fan, and was able to glean a lot from the story based on what I saw on that show.  There is an extraordinarily gossipy nature to the story, which I owe to the fact that it is geared toward young adults.  And I do not necessarily think that gossipy nature is a bad thing; it certainly kept things interesting and kept me engaged as a reader.

I think we will see a movement in young adult literature, away from Twilight inspired books, to more Downton inspired books, and I see this as a positive change.  As with any fiction inspired by popular movies or television, some efforts will be superior to others.  I find this to be on the high quality end of the spectrum, and am fascinated to see the series unfold.

I received a review copy courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  

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