Beth’s Story, 1914
This is the first in a new series called “Secrets of the Manor.” Beth is a young girl who lives in a manor in England. It is almost her 12th birthday and she is excited because this is a special birthday. This is the birthday when Beth will get the necklace that belonged to her great-grandmother that she was named after. But things are not all well in the manor. Beth’s lady’s maid has gone missing and her replacement maid has been accused of stealing. Plus Beth’s cousin Gabby has come to visit. But she is not the same Gabby that Beth remembers from past letters and visits. This Gabby treats Beth like a little girl instead of a good friend. Mysteries upon mysteries are starting to pile up and Beth is unsure about how to solve all the mysteries when she keeps being told to just sit back and learn to be the little lady of the manor.
This is a fun historical novel and mystery all rolled up in one. Readers who love the historical American Girl books will especially appreciate this story. And the girls who see their parents watching Downton Abbey will enjoy reading about a girl growing up in a manor similar to (but younger and sweeter) than Lady Mary. The clues to the mystery will be a bit obvious for older readers, but those that the book is written for will enjoy thinking about all the clues. And with fun tidbits suggesting books to come, young girls should be especially excited.
Book Discussion Questions:
Why was Gabby treating Beth the way she did? How should she have treated her?
Why was Beth so excited about this particular birthday? Have you ever been extremely excited for something?
Why didn’t Beth’s parents and aunt and uncle want her to get involved in the mystery? What did Beth do about their advice? Was that wise?
Why was Shannon chosen as Beth’s new maid instead of another servant? Was this a good choice? Why or why not?
Where do you think this series will go?
Aladdin, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2014
AGES: Elementary School