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4.3 out of 5 stars128
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 23 January 2014
Doubting Abbey, is a good read. The plotline is tenuous at best, but none the less enjoyable. Once you get past the irritating `amazing' and `mega' you find yourself getting swept along. The concept is good and in parts quite funny.

However the end was overly sentimental with an unexpected twist that was just too farfetched. The twist alone was a good story line but it came out too late and at the wrong time. It felt like being sledge hammered in the face with lies and forgiveness and rainbows and unicorns and flying pigs. The beginning and middle were great the end let it down a bit I'm afraid.

I wouldn't recommend this to the more serious readers out there. But if you want to read a book with a good story and likeable characters this is for you!
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on 14 November 2013
Applebridge Hall, prestigious home to the Croxley family is to be featured in top tv reality show - Millionaire Mansion, a show where stately homes are entered into winning the top prize of a million pounds for renovations to the properties; they just need to convince the public that they are winners!

Lord Croxley has an idea to win, a food academy in the glorious old settings of Applebridge Hall, they just need their estranged cousin Abigail's help. But so do the orphans in Africa where her boyfriend Zac is headed to help rebuild the orhphanage he helped with the previous year.

The idea is the her flatmate Gemma who people always say she looks like, will stand in for her to show family unity for the viewers, the only problem is that Gemma is hardly a lady.

Abbey's aunt, Lady Constance Woodfold is on hand to help with the transformation, and running a finishing school she should find the job easy!

Things go well until fake Abbey has to do a cookery demonstration, something she is hardly familiar with, and then there is the dinner party where the façade begins to falter. That's without her plan to up the ratings of the television show...!

The staff become suspicious and Abbey/Gemma's feelings for Lord Edward begin to complicate matters!

Doubting Abbey is a lovely fun read set in a beautiful old hall and with a lovely family ethos behind it.

The characters are easy to warm to - I especially liked the cook, Kathleen, and the antics give lots of giggles. I enjoyed the whole reality tv plot, it is well explored and easy to imagine!

The ending wrapped things up well - I do enjoy a book with an epilogue!
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on 21 November 2013
This was great - I loved it. It's the very funny story of how Gemma ends up impersonating aristocratic Abbey. Abbey's family and it's stately home are starring in a reality tv show and there's a lot at stake. Will Gemma keep her disguise a secret, win the show and - maybe - the heart of a certain lordly upper class chap? You're kept guessing until the very end. This is very funny, sometimes touching, has a great cast of characters and a neat twist. Highly recommended.
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I have just finished reading Doubting Abbey which is Samantha Tonge's debut novel. I love the cover to this book it is very fitting for this time of the year, I was just hoping that although I have never seen Downton Abbey I would still understand this and enjoy it!

Gemma is as down to earth as they come she is a true commoner and very lovely with it. When she removes her amateurish make up she has an uncanny resemblance to her best friend Abbey, to help her best friend out she agrees to pretend to be Abbey and go to her families aristocratic family country estate and take part in a reality tv show Million Dollar Mansion.

Gemma has to learn how to be more lady like and blend in with the family, no one must know who she really is as the family really need to win the show to win the money for repairs that are urgently needed on Applebridge Hall.

This novel was not what I was expecting at all. Let me just put your mind at rest for those of you who like me have never watched Downton Abbey it really doesn't have any effect on this book at all. I really enjoyed it. This really was a humorous read, Gemma is such a witty character who always seems to get herself into mischief, I never expected this book to be a witty read but it was the humour that kept me hooked.

As stuffy as Lord Edward was I still loved his character, his blog was a lovely touch and I enjoyed seeing him let himself live a little. The storyline was predictable but I still enjoyed watching the events unfold.

This is a fun light read but surprisingly not a quick read. I was hoping that the storyline was going to have a festive feel to the storyline but the book isn't Christmassy at all so don't expect this to get you in the festive mood but none the less it would still make a perfect gift as it can be read all year around.

This was a fantastic debut for Samantha Tonge and I look forward to more of her books. This is an unbelievable price on kindle at the moment so get in quick.
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on 26 July 2014
Gemma and Abbey are best friends. Abbey has a problem, she can't be in two places at once. Her boyfriend needs her, but her family does as well. Because Gemma looks so much like her and she hasn't seen her relatives for years Abby asks her best friend to go in her place. Gemma reluctantly agrees as that is what friends do. The only difference between the girls is that Gemma is a regular and common girl while Abbey is a lady. After only a few basic etiquette lessons Gemma has to pretend she's Abbey. Not only in front of the family, but also in front of the entire country, because Gemma has to help the family to save their estate on television. They're one of Million Dollar Mansion's finalists. She has her own ideas about how to win the show. It isn't easy for Gemma to pretend to have impeccable manners, but that isn't her only problem. There's work to be done, they have a job for her which is something nobody told her she'd be doing. Gemma also likes Abbey's cousin Lord Edward a little bit too much. Will Gemma succeed in being Abbey or will she let her friend down and leave a complete mess?

I liked Doubting Abbey a lot! Gemma is such a warm person. She's impulsive, she's got guts and she's extremely loyal. Her character makes this novel so special. I liked all the funny scenes and Gemma is a fantastic heroine. She's able to talk herself out of almost anything. The amazing Lord Edward made this novel even better. The handsome and sometimes quite stiff gentleman shows his softer sides because of Gemma. His transformation is one of the strongest parts of the book. Last but not least there's the television show. Gemma comes up with the most daring plans to get people to vote. She loves reality shows and she knows exactly how to attract more viewers. Her actions are often hilarious. Doubting Abbey is great, I loved reading every single page of this book!
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on 11 June 2014
I still have to catch up on the entire series of Downton Abbey and when I do I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. First of all Doubting Abbey is a fun play on the title and although I know nothing about Downton Abbey, surprisingly I enjoyed this book. If you’re a fan of the TV show you'll love this or if you’re like me who's never seen it, you’ll still enjoy it.

Gemma, the main character is your typical Essex girl. She's fun, daring, full of fake tan and is good friends with Abigail Croxley, an aristocrat who lives at Croxley mansion. Gemma is encouraged to impersonate Abigail, by Abigail and her Aunt Lady Constance to star in Million Dollar Mansion, a reality TV show that will offer them a chance of winning a million pounds. Croxley mansion is not in the best condition as the walls are crumbling and overall in need of refurbishing. So they are desperate to win this money instead of their over-the-top rivals, the Barron and his son who resides at Marwick Castle.

Abigail is unable to take part due to other commitments and that's where Gemma steps in. After her first apperance Million Dollar Mansion things begin to kick off and over two disastrous weeks of Gemma trying to fit into her new aristocratic family (with the help of Lady Constance), she has to cook, tries speaks posh, abandons her beloved fake tan and falls in love. In the mansion she gets up to all sorts of antics with a cheeky gardener, a lawnmower and skinny dipping in a pond.

With sheer determination the mischievous and intrepid Gemma sticks to the plan that she, Aunt Constance and Abigail orginally came up with, but slips up now and then giving away tell-tale signs that she is of a different sort which raises a few suspicions.

There's a lot of reasons why I kept turning the pages, some of which were: Will Gemma's cover ever get blown and how? Will she and the gardener finally get it together? or Will Edward ever loosen up?

As for the rest of the Croxleys I thought they were a nice warm family, just like any other and that's probably one of the things Samantha was trying to show. Regardless of all the palava, we're all the same underneath.

Lovely descriptions of Croxley mansion, from the ivy sweeping across the crumbling walls, to the history, the land surrounding the house and the décor in every room, I could almost smell and touch it. Its probably one of my favourite fictional places.
The balance between the Rom and the Com was great, enough to keep you laughing and heated at the same time. Lord Edward's E-blog diary was a nice addition, giving that bit more to the plot. For me there’s something to laugh at on nearly every page as the story unfolds. Scenes were well written and a thoroughly entertaining read. Whether you’re into you reality TV shows or not, this is one you need to get your hands on.
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on 22 March 2014
Sweet characters and cute story but only took a few chapters to know exactly how it was going to end. Lots of little typos which irritated me! Thought this could have been edited a lot better.
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on 4 July 2014
What a delightful novel! I am a total sucker for anything British as well as books where characters assume another person's identity, so this was perfect for me. I was immediately drawn to Gemma; an ordinary girl with a warm heart, no-nonsense attitude and quirky expressions. She had many a priceless experience through "Lady C's" condensed finishing school and her adventures posing as her sophisticated flatmate Abbey in order to save the family legacy. Add to that an incredible castle, a reality show, a lovable cast of characters AND a gorgeous brooding man for Gemma to fall in love with and you have a tremendous story! I cannot say enough good things about this hilarious tale of "borrowed" identity. I am so excited for the sequel!
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on 16 March 2014
This was an adorable book. It was like The Prince and the Pauper (the Barbie version) meets Jam and Jersusalem in a run down stately home for a reality Television show. Gemma is such a lovable character, she really steals the show with her humour.

At first Lord Edward comes off as a bit starchy, but Gemma brings out his Mr. Darcy side and he really becomes very wonderful. There are many slap stick moments between him and Gemma; that just make this such an endearing novel.

Doubting Abbey is full of rich desvriptions of what life is really like living in a stately home. You really feel transported to your own Downton Abbey and a way of life that most of can only dream about. I highly recommend this funny, light hearted book.
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on 25 November 2013
I really enjoyed this book.

The storyline is unique and very well done. Set in a mansion, fans of Downton will love this, but so will non-fans as the characters are so well written, you really care about them.

The antics of Gemma - who is standing in for her posh flatmate Abbey - will make you laugh out loud, but it also has some emotional moments in it too. It's a book that I feel crosses several genres because it has something for everyone. Historical romance readers will enjoy it because of the setting, but so will readers of women's fiction and chicklit. It's a great all rounder, which is often hard for a writer to do, but Samantha Tonge has managed it superbly.

The only thing that stops me giving this 5 stars, is Gemma's constant use of the word 'mega' which I found irritating. But other readers - especially younger ones - may not mind it.

A great book for your Christmas stocking, or as a present for that 'hard to buy' for person in your life!
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