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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Blog Tour: MANOR OF SECRETS and a Giveaway!


I am so excited to have my friend, Katherine Longshore here today to take us on a tour of The Manor! I freaking love Katherine's writing! I'm normally not a big contemporary/historical girl but her storytelling is magical! Make sure to enter the giveaway below for a copy of the book!

Haven't heard of MANOR OF SECRETS? Check it out!

MANOR OF SECRETS
Author: Katherine Longshore
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Pages: 320
Publisher: Point (Scholastic)

The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.

Now on to the post!

The Manor stands at the crest of a hill in the Weald of Kent, just a few miles from Ashdown Forest (made famous by A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood), and Hever Castle (Anne Boleyn’s childhood home).  A high stone wall separates the estate from the road, making it accessible only by the long, narrow drive, monitored by the gatekeeper whose cottage presides over the entrance.

Once through the gate, the drive proceeds across a wide expanse of lawn dotted by centuries-old trees, and up to the house itself—a 19th Century renovation of a Tudor mansion.  The brick fa├žade glows red in the summer sunshine, accented by the glimmer of glass in the windows.  The roof is garnished with so many chimneys of twisting brick-work that it looks like a birthday cake.

How you enter The Manor depends on who you are.  Nobility, family friends and relatives, as well as the family doctor, lawyer and vicar all enter by walking up the great stone steps to the massive oak door, to be greeted by the butler.

Tradesmen, deliveries, servants and prospective servants follow a track around the side of the building and into a brick-walled courtyard, where they will knock on the kitchen door and admitted by Harry, the hall boy, or some other lowly person.

The commoner will then walk the brick floored corridor, catching a glimpse of the still room (where cordials and sweets are made), and perhaps stop in the doorway of the servants’ hall. 

This room is dominated by a long, scarred wooden table, though there is a cozy fireplace (unlit during this long, hot summer) and an upright piano at the far end.  Perhaps a newspaper has been left on the table, or an empty cup and saucer.  In the center of the table are two jugs—one of water and one of beer—for the servants to refresh themselves when needed.

The next room is the kitchen, and attached to it the scullery (where dishes are washed and birds are plucked).  These rooms are rarely quiet.  Janie, the kitchen maid, starts the servants’ breakfast before dawn, and Mollie, the scullery maid, often doesn’t finish washing up until after ten at night.  This room, with its heavy work table, two stoves, two sinks, and a myriad of pots, pans, bowls, tools and knives, provides the food for thirty household staff and the Edmonds family upstairs, who at present are only three, but when the boys are home and guests invited, can be as many as twenty expecting a seven-course dinner—not to mention cooked breakfast, elevensies, luncheon and tea.

Almost opposite the kitchen is the servants’ staircase—the back way to all upstairs rooms and, eventually, the attic rooms of the female servants.  And a little further down the hall is a short staircase that opens up into the entrance hall.

This is the first room at The Manor the upper class guest will see.  Two stories high, with a checkerboard marble floor and a sweeping carpeted staircase, the entrance hall was designed to impress.  It’s filled with light from the giant front windows, and with decorative palm trees that are all the rage in 1911.

Compared to the controlled chaos downstairs, this part of the house is silent.

Compared to the contrasting odors of shoe polish, coal dust, kedgeree and fresh bread in the servants’ corridor, the entrance hall and all of the upstairs rooms are scented by lavender, wood polish, silk and opulence.

To the left is Lady Edmonds’s sitting room—the perfect position to watch all the goings-on at The Manor.  Just past it, below the stairs, is the gun room, and then the dining room—flashing with silver and crystal.  Up the stairs, the hall is thickly carpeted and its length is decorated with the works of famous painters—van Dyck, Turner, Waterhouse.

At the far end of the hall, where the shadows start to creep in and you can just see the seam of the servants’ door, is Charlotte Edmonds’s bedroom.  Her bed is central, the wardrobe, with a tea gown on display, is just behind the door.  Her dressing table, with its intricately-framed mirror, stands next to the window, which looks out over the green of the lawn, the lake kept secret by the trees, and the Weald in the distance.


The Manor is fictional, of course.  But it’s based on reality.  Its location is that of a country manor turned school turned luxury apartments called Swaylands.  The grounds are similar to Swaylands, Basildon Park and Polesden Lacey in the south of England.  The entrance hall is a combination of Petworth’s marble hall and grand staircase.  The kitchen was inspired by the one at Petworth, and the rooms and paintings are reminiscent of all of these properties as well as Ham House and Blickling.  Most of these places can be enjoyed virtually by visiting the National Trust (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/)

Thanks Katy! This was an awesome tour of the Manor!



About Katherine:

Katherine Longshore grew up on the northern California coast. At university, she created her own major in Cross-Cultural Studies and Communications, planning to travel and write. Forever. Four years, six continents and countless pairs of shoes later, she went to England for two weeks, stayed five years and discovered history. She now lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshiping dog.






Giveaway Details:

5 Signed finished copies of MANOR OF SECRETS US Only
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Here’s the Tour Schedule!

Week One:
1/27/2014- Fiktshun- Guest Post
1/28/2014- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
1/29/2014- Good Books and Good Wine- Review
1/30/2014- Hobbitsies- Review
1/31/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Interview

Week Two:
2/3/2014- A Glass Of Wine- Guest Post
2/4/2014- Mundie Moms- Interview & Review
2/5/2014- Read My Breath Away- Guest Post
2/6/2014- Page Turners- Review
2/7/2014- Tales of a Ravenous Reader- Guest Post

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8 comments:

  1. HIstorical is one of my fav genres and Katherine Longshore is definitely one of the best YA Historical Fiction authors. Can't wait to give this book a try :)

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  2. I haven't read a book by Katherine Longshore yet but I discovered historical fiction this past year and love it!

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  3. So excited for this one! It sounds very Downton-esque.

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  4. I loved GILT so I can't wait to read this one! EEP.

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  5. I love this cover. That dress is bad ass

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  6. This sounds so great, I can't wait to check it out :)

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  7. Sounds like an amazing read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

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