Eighteen-year-old Maggie Darlington has turned into an entirely different person. The once spirited teen is now passive and reserved. A change Lord and Lady Darlington can’t help but be grateful for.
It’s 1912, and the Darlingtons of Wentworth Hall have more than just the extensive grounds to maintain. As one of Britain’s most elite families, they need to keep up appearances that things are as they have always been…even as their carefully constructed faÇade rapidly comes undone.
Maggie has a secret. And she’s not the only one…the handsome groom Michael, the beautiful new French nanny Therese, the Darlingtons’ teenage houseguests Teddy and Jessica, and even Maggie’s younger sister Lila are all hiding something. Passion, betrayal, heartache, and whispered declarations of love take place under the Darlingtons’ massive roof. And one of these secrets has the power to ruin the Darlingtons forever.
When scandalous satires start appearing in the newspaper with details that closely mirror the lives of the Darlingtons, everyone is looking over their shoulder, worrying their scandal will be next. Because at Wentworth Hall, nothing stays secret for long. (Publisher’s summary)
Selective Collective Round Table:
The scandals that affect the Darlingtons are 1) Lady Darlington having a child at an advanced age; 2) the Darlington children’s friendliness with the servants; 3) Wentworth Hall falling apart; 4) the apparent dwindling of the coffers. The Darlingtons are part of the elite society of England and are expected to behave a certain way. Anything that deviates from the societal norm would ruin their reputation and might cause the children to not marry favorably, which would mean in this case, someone whose social standing is below their own. What that means is that they may not get the infusion of money the Darlingtons so desperately need to keep their home in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed. Or even just in livable conditions. The “scandals” that the Darlingtons are subjected to, their dirty laundry being aired in the public eye, honestly, I don’t think they really had negative effects other than embarrassment (it was a local paper, let’s not forget, not something someone from society would have access to). Lord Darlington isn’t a businessman, so it wouldn’t effect him in that way. It may have made the Fitzhughs less likely to want to become allied with them, especially since the Fitzhughs are new to England and are looking for an “in” into society. Another scandal that could have affected the Darlingtons is Maggie and her siblings friendships with the servants. There is a definite invisible wall that should separate the haves from the have nots and never the twain shall meet. It would be especially scandalous if there was any indication that there was something more than friendship going on. These days, I don’t think it’s as much of an issue (not that I would be privy to the bizarre rules of the upper-crust) between titled folk and commoners, but between titled and the servant class, it is probably still unlikely and scandalous. What scandals would be unacceptable now? I think getting caught stealing money (not the actual act of stealing money, but the getting caught), adultery is still unacceptable, particularly if it is with a much younger person. Homosexuality is still considered scandalous, despite our strides towards equality and tolerance. Any kind of sexual deviancy or unusual sexual appetite would be scandalous. Drugs is still taboo, for the most part. The problem with “scandals” these days is the whole concept of “all publicity is good publicity” in which anything that is consumed by the public puts one in the public eye, which can lead to all sorts of fame and/or fortune. We’re just not as scandalized today as we have been in the past, but we’re also hungry to learn of any sort of behavior that we could point to and say, “I’m better than that.” We thrive on scandal as a society because it is the great equalizer. —Daphne