£23.82
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Usually dispatched within 1 to 3 weeks.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
The Secret Rooms: A True ... has been added to your Basket
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret (Thorndike Press Large Print Peer Picks) Hardcover – Large Print, 9 May 2014

4.1 out of 5 stars 240 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Large Print
"Please retry"
£23.82
£21.01 £26.45
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£23.82 FREE Delivery in the UK. Usually dispatched within 1 to 3 weeks. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Frequently Bought Together

  • The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret (Thorndike Press Large Print Peer Picks)
  • +
  • Black Diamonds: The Rise and Fall of an English Dynasty
Total price: £30.81
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Hardcover: 753 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (9 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410468623
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410468628
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (240 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 591,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Gripping. Reads like the best kind of mystery story. It is a tale of mistresses and heirlooms, cowardice and connivance (Sunday Times)

'Astonishing, jaw-dropping, superb. Horrifying, extraordinary (Sunday Telegraph)

Extraordinary, edge-of-the-seat, enthralling. All the ingredients of a lurid horror. The plot is thick with destroyed documents, decadent aristocracy, betrayed honour and curses (Metro)

Compelling. A remarkable piece of research which throws a bright shaft of light on powerful people, hypocrisy and the first world war (Jeremy Paxman Guardian, Books of the Year)

Wonderful . . . has everything: family intrigue and hatred, love and war, witches' curses, eccentricity, snobbery and a series of shocking secrets. No reader can finish it unmoved (Sunday Express)

Teems with hypocrisy, deceit, parental manipulation and bullying. Bailey artfully shows how guilt, grief, pride and shame levied a heavy toll (Literary Review)

An extraordinary detective operation (John Julius Norwich)

Excellent, beautifully crafted, fascinating (Red)

Excellent. A fine, suspenseful, atmospheric tale, a less melodramatic and more nuanced Downton Abbey (Daily Express)

Bailey's fascinating book takes us to the heart of a family tragedy ... this is a horrifying story of love, despair, intrigue, snobbery and upper class eccentricity which reads like fiction but is amazingly - and shockingly - real (Lancashire Evening Post)

The mysterious death of a Duke and a castle full of treacherous goings-on make The Secret Rooms a gripping read for fans of Downton Abbey. As thrilling as any fiction, Catherine Bailey uncovers the darkest depths of a family with plenty of skeletons in its closet (Good Housekeeping) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Catherine Bailey is the author of Black Diamonds. She read history at Oxford University and is a successful, award-winning television producer and director, making a range of critically acclaimed documentary films inspired by her interest in twentieth century history. She lives in West London. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
One cannot deny that this is a major work in terms of research. I shudder to think how many untold hours the author must have spent in digging through records and old letters. However, it seems to me that she is guilty of several things. One is the wildly changing styles adopted throughout the book; sometimes the author addresses us directly in the first person, then swerves into a kind of over-florid "faction" style as she narrates in the third person. This is irritating. The second is that there is an awful lot of padding. When writing a book of this kind, it is often not what you put in but what you leave out that is most important. Bailey leaves absolutely nothing out - nothing. The story gets bogged down in lots of unnecessary detail which is not needed to advance the story and which could have been excised; all this achieves is a lack of clarity and awfully dull patches where there is simply much more information than the reader needs. The premise of the book is also wildly over-optimistic; the "mystery" is so hyped that the reader is deceived into thinking that the solution is murder or the theft of the Crown Jewels at the very least. And it turns out to be nothing remarkably earth shattering. Certainly nothing to warrant calling it a "true gothic mystery". The "secret" rooms are not even secret! Several of the minor "mysteries" are never resolved - we never find out the reason for the break-in to the castle committed by a woman disguised as a man, and we never find out the true reason for Haddon's death. Neither, strangely, are any reactions of the current Duke of Rutland's family explored when the "secret" comes out.Read more ›
2 Comments 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Catherine Bailey, intent on writing a book about villages affected World War I, visited Belvoir Castle to investigate the extensive archives kept by the ninth duke, John Manners. To her dismay, she found that John's journal abruptly ended in June 1914, just when his unit was about to enter the fighting. When she read his correspondence, she found the same gap, and on further investigation, found three complete gaps in otherwise comprehensive archives. She was so curious that she kept looking and the result was this book, a mystery unwinding into a fascinating picture of a still-privileged aristocracy hovering on the brink of change.

This is a book that actually took me by surprise. I'd read the first few pages a while back and didn't feel compelled to continue. I have to be in a certain kind of a mood for a mystery, and I never felt that the time was right. When I finally did persevere, though, I found an absolute gem of a book. There are actually 3 mysteries, which are the gaps in John's life, and Bailey does an excellent job of keeping the reader wondering about what's happened while slowly revealing a picture of an aristocratic family which simply no longer exists.

The book is structured with chapters that are fairly short. A number of them end in cliffhangers, so that as a reader I was compelled to go on and read more to see what the author would find next; I actually read most of the book on a train and it was the perfect distraction to make a long journey seem much shorter. More than waiting to find out the mysteries, though, I was fascinated by the world which Bailey revealed. John's life, and that of his parents and siblings, is still full of aristocratic excess, but crisis and change is very clearly on the horizon.
Read more ›
Comment 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By laineyf TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
'The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery' by Catherine Bailey is a fascinating tale of secrets that were hidden for a very long time. Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire is home to the Duke and Duchess of Rutland, and their family. Catherine (the author) wanted access to the Castle documents in order to write a book about the contributions of the local people to World War 1. In researching for her book, she uncovered a mystery of long-standing. The story reveals exactly how different were the lives of the privileged. Favours could be called in, money could change hands, and Mothers could use their position to ensure that their children were safe. Violet is the Duchess of Rutland at the time, and her scheming is quite appalling! She is prepared to lie, cheat, and use her children to gain what she wants, no matter what the price that has to be paid. She feels that she is doing the 'right' thing, but the repercussions on John, her son are immense.
I found it quite disturbing that Violet was able to impact on John's life in such a way, but I suppose that is the difference between the upper and lower echelons of society - it's not what you know, but WHO you know. This book was excellent, very readable, really well researched, and fascinating to me. Highly recommended.
Comment 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Champollion VINE VOICE on 26 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Catherine Bailey, following on from her success with "Black Diamonds:The Rise and Fall of an English Dynasty," has created a fascinating and compelling story which she initially started as research into the archives at Belvoir Castle about how ordinary peoples lives who worked on the estate had been affected by World War I. The author painstakingly explored the thousands of letters in a suite of rooms which had been sealed after the death of the ninth Earl of Rutland.

That discovery set her on a different track altogether and posed a set of questions about why the ninth Duke had spent part of his life in these 'secret rooms' which were sparse in comparison to the opulence in the castles main areas.

The book reads rather like a detective novel and could easily have been the basis of a story from Wilkie Collins as the tale gives family intrigue, scheming, and 'skeletons in the cupboard.'

I enjoyed Catherine Bailey's writing style, which gave the narrative pace and her construction of secrets and parts of the jigsaw being revealed until the whole picture is complete was a successful one.

The story is many things wrapped into one, "author discovers hidden family secrets," and a highly readable tale of privilege, power, deceit and mystery. Recommended.
Comment 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback