Secrets of Bennett Hall by Jordan Elizabeth
Darkness once twisted Adelaide Dinsmore’s mind, but she thought she had grown out of that. Her job as a teacher in Hedlund proved that - until she discovers one of her students dead and the town turns against her. As her mind starts to crumble, she is offered a new job, this time as a governess for Gentleman Bennett’s granddaughter back east.
Bennett Hall is a sprawling manor of winding tunnels and manicured lawns, and the fence is really just for show. The little girl, Theodora, is a delight, albeit quiet, and the Bennetts are kind enough, especially the dashing young Joseph. So what if one of the servants sends chills down her spine every time he looks at her? Surely that, and the noises in the night, are figments of her imagination. She won’t allow the past in Hedlund to tarnish her future at Bennett Hall.
Then, Theodora begins to speak of a Villain who haunts secret passages in the manor, and Adelaide stumbles upon a sealed off wing where ghosts whisper from the shadows. Twisted inventions fill the basement and the villagers are wary of the Bennett family.
The longer she stays at Bennett Hall, the less likely her chance for escape, but she cannot leave Theodora or Joseph. The darkness in her mind might be the only thing to save them.
Rating: 4 OWLS
Secrets of Bennett Hall is a great read filled with mysteries that had me guessing and second guessing every character and action until the very end. Although this is the second book in the Return to Amston series it stands on its own. I did not read the first book and had no issues reading this as a standalone. My understanding is that a side character from the first books makes an appearance in this novel, but I am not sure who and will not look into it as it might spoil me for the first book, which I intend to pick up soon. Secrets of Bennett Hall is a gothic novel with steampunk elements that has it all, intrigue, mystery, romance, complicated family relationships.
The characters Jordan Elizabeth created were very well developed and easy to get invested in. Adelaide, our protagonist, spent some of her young years in an asylum but she is determined not to go back. When her position as a teacher takes a turn for the worse she is forced to quit and move back home. Not long after she is offered a position as a governess, for the lovely Theodora, at Bennett Hall who has all the best elements of a creepy manor. When Theodora starts to speak of the Villain who haunts the secret passages of the manor and Adelaide discovers a secret hidden wing things really start to get eerie.
I would like to be able to say more but I feel like everything could be a spoiler for this amazing read. Secrets of Bennett Hall is a quick fast paced read with mysteries and intrigues that left me breathless. Jordan Elizabeth is a great storyteller that managed to get me emotionally committed to her characters. I found her writing style to be just wonderful; she is an incredible storyteller and I cannot wait to read her other works, as I am convinced that they are equally amazing. I would definitely recommend this book; you won’t be disappointed.