Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review: Suspicion by Alexandra Monir

Title: Suspicion
Author: Alexandra Monir
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 368
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//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//

Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor.

"There's something hidden in the Maze." Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family's English country manor.

Haunted by her parents' deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin's untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.

All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion's aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself--and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?

Combining a fresh twist on the classic REBECCA with a spine-tingling mystery and powerful romance, SUSPICION is an action-packed thrill ride.

I first spotted this book on another blog's Waiting on Wednesday quite some time ago. When I spotted it on Netgalley I was thrilled with my discovery! I was even happier when I was approved! This book has everything - magic, romance, and mystery. The only problem was I'd never read Rebecca, so the retelling was ultimately lost on me. Still, I went into it ready to be wowed!

The book opens after all of the main events have transpired, setting the reader up for what is sure to be a thrilling mystery. Suddenly, we're transported back to earlier events - much earlier. Imogen is a ten year old little girl who has come to Rockford Manor, the family's home. Her cousin is a snotty little rich girl, but they share a close bond - and feelings for the same guy, it would seem (although I certainly did not have crushes at 10 years old). After the tragic loss of her family, Imogen is sent to New York as part of her parents' will. This is where she lives with her guardians until she has to return to Rockford and assume the role of Duchess at 17 years old.

Imogen's transition into English society was convincing enough. I really enjoyed how the author made it very clear that the lingo had changed, often pointing out what an unusual phrase meant. I felt like Imogen handled the situation well - much better than I would have! I'm not sure how much I connected with her as a person, but she was a good storyteller at the very least. Her relationship with Sebastian, while enjoyable, seemed a little strange considering he had been with her cousin for seven years prior. The fact that both of them were able to just jump into a new relationship together was a little off-putting.

The first two parts of the book - Imogen's background and her introduction to life as a duchess - were really a lot of fun and were very enjoyable. I was genuinely creeped out by the manor and the maids. I also liked the little (and I mean very little) I got to see of Imogen experimenting with her powers. Unfortunately, the third and final part of the book was where everything kind of fell apart for me.

At the beginning of part three Suspicion became very similar to an episode of Scooby Doo. There was a lot of, "I have to solve the mystery now!" I really expected the mask to come off and someone to scream, "If it weren't for those meddling kids!" I wasn't totally disappointed... The ending left more questions than answers. It seemed completely implausible. I can't say much without spoiling it, but it wasn't believable at all. The biggest question at the end was: why would Imogen have kept the title after everything that happened?

Overall, I did enjoy Suspicion. It just got a little too ridiculous and a little formulaic at the end. I really do wish I'd read Rebecca so I could compare them, but oh well. I'd still recommend this one to fans of paranormal romance, mystery, or even Downton Abbey!