I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
Published by Delacorte Press on 2014-12-09
Length: 368 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
A modern-day twist on the classic thriller, Rebecca, with a dash of the supernatural, a powerful romance, and a deadly family mystery.
“There’s something hidden in the maze.”
Seventeen-year-old Imogen Rockford has never forgotten the last words her father said to her, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor.
For seven years, images of her parents’ death have haunted Imogen’s dreams. In an effort to escape the past, she leaves Rockford Manor and moves to New York City with her new guardians. But some attachments prove impossible to shake—including her love for her handsome neighbor Sebastian Stanhope.
Then a life-altering letter arrives that forces Imogen to return to the manor in England, where she quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind Rockford’s aristocratic exterior. At their center is Imogen herself—and Sebastian, the boy she never stopped loving.
Combining spine-tingling mystery, romance, and unforgettable characters, Suspicion is an action-packed thrill ride.
Hmmm….where to start with this one? I liked Suspicion by Alexandra Monir on one hand, on the other I didn’t. The story itself was addicting, I felt like I had to keep reading to know what happened to the characters. But then at the same time it was boring.
Yeah I know, but that’s how I felt during the entire book! The book begins with a flashback on the tragic events that changed Imogen Rockford’s life, the death of her parents. It then goes back to the present and follows a now 17 year-old Imogen as she is gearing up for graduation and post-high school life when yet another tragedy befalls her family. This time it leaves the young woman as the sole heir to the Rockford estate. Basically she becomes a duchess and the second part of the book is very Princess Diaries-ish.
Imogen is a tough character to like but also hard to dislike as well. She is traumatized by her past, doesn’t rely on people easily, and now she is a duchess. She has the choice to not accept her inheritance however that would mean the people working at the estate would now be without jobs and the town that relies on the estate would go desolate. So Imogen accepts and is whisked away from her American life into the English court system. And here’s where the story loses me.
So I’m pretty sure, in fact I’m 100% positive, that if a lovely British person read this book he/she would be offended with the author’s take on current society. I’m pretty sure (and my UK peeps correct me if I’m wrong) that a new Duchess is not received in the same way as she is in this book. Yes I believe that the media would hound her because she is current news, but would an entire town depend on her? Would an entire town love and adore her just because she is the Duchess? In today’s world I don’t think so. If this was written as historical fiction, maybe I could see it, but now not so much. I mean do Duchesses still have a personal maid to do all their clothe shopping and fix their hair and do their makeup for them?! Are Duchesses still greeted as “Your Grace” and bowed to? Do they have servants at their beck and call? Maybe I’m completely off base, but this just doesn’t seem realistic in today’s society. I could see someone going up and asking for an autograph but would that even happen?
Ok, enough ranting, back to the general story. Aside from the cultural issues that I don’t believe meet today’s standards, the story itself was good. The synopsis says that it is a “modern-day take of the classic Rebecca.” Now I’ve never read Rebecca so I cannot make that comparison. However I have read several reviews that this isn’t true and that it is a very poorly done re-telling. Again I can’t make that comparison, but I wanted to warn those that may know the story.
Myself I thought the overall story was good. It was boring at parts and at times I felt like it was dragging. Then at other times I couldn’t turn the page fast enough! The actual plot revolves around the death of Imogen’s older cousin who should have become Duchess. However she dies in a freak accident in the same garden that her parents and her cousin’s parents ten years earlier. The plot becomes a murder-mystery with a little (I mean like a smidgen) of paranormal thrown in as an afterthought.
My conclusion….I just don’t know. I’m on the fence. I liked it but I didn’t. So my final star rating would be a 3.5. Like I already said, I felt like I couldn’t set the book down. It kept my attention, but at the same time the storyline fell flat and bored me to tears. The conclusion of the story and final plot twists I had figured out long before they came and I felt like the book just ended. The closure was too tidy and this whole long plot was resolved in just a few pages.
NOT okay!!!! The paranormal element was thrown in as an afterthought and really played no part in the actual story, so it should have been edited out. The mystery wasn’t too mysterious and I had it solved at around the 60% mark. The romance was too insta-love for me and I felt like it also fell flat. The characters weren’t memorable, in fact I only remember Imogen, her cousin (don’t remember her name) and the love interest (also don’t remember his name). This book just wasn’t for me. Now I know that not every book is for every person, so if you enjoy mystery and have NOT read Rebecca then you may enjoy. If you do read it, come back and let me know what you think!