Book Review: Set in Stone by Linda Newbery


When Samuel Godwin, a young and naive art tutor, accepts a job with the Farrow family at Fourwinds, their majestic home, little does he expect to come across such a web of secrets and lies. His two tutees are as different as chalk and cheese – the beautiful younger sister Marianne, full of flightiness and nervous imagination, and Juliana, controlled and sad. With their governess, Charlotte Agnew, Samuel begins to uncover slowly the horrifying truth behind Juliana’s sadness and Marianne’s emotional fragility. Their discoveries change their perception of life at Fourwinds for ever and none of their lives will ever be the same again.

This book started well, to the point I didnt realise that it was a Young Adult book. It is a story much in the vein of Jane Eyre, Northhanger Abbey and Wilkie Collins – young penniless artist joins a family as a teacher, only to find mysteries abound and it is the governess and art teacher (neither family or household staff) that end up investigating.

However, I got bored halfway through (any sense of the dramatic is too laboured) and I skipped ahead, only to find  topics never to be approached in even the most racy Wilkie Collins book – incest, suicide, homosexuality, murder, adultery, children out of wedlock…..on one hand it’s too subtle, on the other hand the book is covering stories never covered in the very stories it’s attempting to emulate, so fails on both counts.

Gave up halfway through, so disappointing


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