Horn Book Guide Reviews

In this second installment, lines are further blurred between upstairs and downstairs as former housemaid Rose transitions into her new role as a lady and Lady Ada attempts to save her family from financial ruin. In this period soap opera (forbidden trysts, rape, unrequited love, etc.), Rasheed effectively highlights early-twentieth-century culture, and plenty of subplots and much intrigue offer surprises.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—The intrigue continues in this addition to the series. The Averleys are in London for "the Season," a ceaseless parade of parties and events designed to foster advantageous family alliances. Having failed to secure a suitable match in her first two seasons, Charlotte is determined to snare a husband this summer but is unwilling to let go of Lord Fintan, Ada's betrothed, and he seems unable to resist her advances. Ada is keenly aware that becoming Lady Fintan will save her family from the financial ruin wrought by her brother William's gambling debts. She is fond of Lord Fintan and believes she has resigned herself to give up her love for Ravi. Rose is still trying to adjust to her new position as the recognized daughter of Lord Westlake but cannot escape her past as a lady's maid. She is unwittingly drawn into a relationship with the heir to one of the wealthiest families in England, completely unaware of his playboy reputation. Michael returns to Eton so that he will be better able to provide for Priya. William takes advantage of his absence to take unwanted liberties with her. Meanwhile, Sebastian continues his desperate search for a solution to Oliver's imprisonment. Despite the multitude of characters, Rasheed does an admirable job of keeping each of their stories enticing, steadily bringing each situation to a soap-opera-worthy cliffhanger. While there are a few satisfying resolutions, enough remains unsettled to keep fans anxiously awaiting the next installment.—Cary Frostick, formerly at Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA

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Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews

The London Season in 1913 is in full swing, and the women of Somerton are in attendance. Rose, still struggling with her transition from housemaid to being the second daughter of the Earl of Westlake, is intrigued by the roguish Duke of Huntleigh. Her sister, Ada, is newly engaged to Lord Fintan but is secretly struggling with memories of the magical moments she shared with Ravi. Ada knows her family needs the financial stability her union with Fintan would bring, but Fintan seems to be dallying with her sister Charlotte. Sebastian is still digging to find helpful background on his former valet, Oliver, who is on trial for a murder that he did not commit, while Michael is serious about pursuing a relationship with nursemaid Priya. And if the upstairs intrigues are not enough, downstairs there are conflicts as Annie becomes discontent with her role, Mrs. Cliffe is replaced with a woman of iron will, and Celine seems to have ulterior motives for her work with Rose. Welcome back to a young-adult version of Downton Abbey. This Somerton tale resumes where the first volume, Cinders and Sapphires (Hyperion, 2013/VOYA December 2012), left off. Fans of the first book will be more than happy to dive into this continuation of the pre-World War I soap opera that involves lords, ladies, and servants alike. The only stumbling block for some readers might be the French-derived fashion terms, but the story moves at a quick pace from start to finish and is sure to keep readers of this genre fully engaged. Junior and senior high librarians will want to add this to the Somerton series, which promises to continue after this one.—Mary Ann Darby 4Q 4P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.