The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey
For fans of Downton Abbey: the enthralling true story of family secrets and aristocratic intrigue in the days before WWI
After the Ninth Duke of Rutland, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, died alone in a cramped room in the servants’ quarters of Belvoir Castle on April 21, 1940, his son and heir ordered the room, which contained the Rutland family archives, sealed. Sixty years later, Catherine Bailey became the first historian given access. What she discovered was a mystery: The Duke had painstakingly erased three periods of his life from all family records—but why? As Bailey uncovers the answers, she also provides an intimate portrait of the very top of British society in the turbulent days leading up to World War I.
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I enjoyed the first third of this book and the last few chapters. Where this book fell down for me was in the middle. Once it started talking about the war and how John's mother and uncle were trying to keep his out of it that is where I got lost. It was just very dry for me and I wanted it to be a little more juicy as to why there were parts of this man's life missing. I think I was hoping for more of a mystery as to why he had rooms shut off and why he lived in just one room at the end of his life. I am still not quite sure why the rooms were kept shut up for so long. I know John ordered them that way but why did his descendants never open them to see what was in there. It does go to show if you know the right people and have enough money you can escape things like war. There is one mystery that is still a mystery and that is the death of John's brother.