Author: Alexandra Monir
No. of Pages: 304
Genre: Young Adult; Suspense
Origins: Random House Children’s
Release Date: 9 December 2014
Bottom Line: Older readers should stick with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca
“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.”
Thoughts: Take Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, throw in a little of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series, and add a hint of the supernatural to get the basis for Alexandra Monir’s Suspicion. There is the girl who unexpectedly becomes titled and heir to the family fortune. She heads back to England to an estate filled with memories, mystery, ghosts, and romance. There is even a sinister housekeeper with whom Imogen must learn to work. Not only must Imogen learn everything there is to know about being one step below the royal family, she must also solve the mystery of her cousin’s sudden and questionable death.
Targeted to a younger audience, Suspicion is simple but enjoyable. Imogen spends a lot of time remembering Sebastian, her childhood crush, but she has enough independence to stand up for herself when necessary. Not only that but she takes her new role very seriously, not letting the title or the money go to her head. The supernatural element is interesting but slightly overdone. Imogen already has everything a girl could want, except for her parents, that the supernatural powers she discovers she has is just a bit too much.
Suspicion is a bit too fluffy to appeal to older readers. This is one young adult novel that does not cross over well to readers outside of its demographic. For one, older readers will see nothing exciting about Imogen’s inherited title and the privilege it entails. Then there is the issue with the melodrama that is Imogen’s life in England. She must face media scrutiny, desperate mothers looking for suitable and monied wives for their sons, and the whisperings of those who knew her family better than she did. It is all very “Downton Abbey” to some extent. Lastly, there is the fact that the rest of the story is so similar to Rebecca but without the atmospheric suspense that one would be better served reading Ms. du Maurier’s original heartstopping thriller. Younger readers, however, will appreciate this riches-to-greater-riches tale for its strong heroine, sweet romance, and simple suspense.