“There’s something hidden in the maze.”
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.
For the first ten years of her life, Imogen Rockford led a charmed life. She lived in New York with her doting mother and father and every summer she and her family spent time at her father’s ancestral home in England. The summer of her tenth year, Imogen stood by helplessly as her mother, father, aunt and uncle died in a horrible fire on the grounds of Rockford Manor. With no explanation as to how the fire started and with only a cryptic message left to her by her father, Imogen has no choice but to turn her back on Rockford Manor and return to New York.
For seven years, Imogen has lived as close to a normal life as is possible for a kid who lost most of her family. She lives with her parents’ best friends, goes to a private school and, has no idea what she wants to do with her life once she graduates from high school. Luckily, Imogen’s life has been mapped out for her and all she has to do is sign the paperwork accepting the inheritance Rockford Manor and the title of Lady Imogen Rockford, Duchess of Wickersham. Though Imogen is justifiably afraid to return to England and take on such immense responsibility, she feels an inexplicable calling.
The moment Imogen sets foot on the grounds of Rockford Manor things begin to change. Within days of her arrival, the grounds look better than they have in years, her personal maid is angry and somewhat sketchy, Imogen seems to be able to do unexplainable things and, she runs into the boy she has carried a torch for most of her life. To say Imogen’s feelings about the whole situation are confused wouldn’t even begin to come close. In the days and weeks that follow, Imogen grows into her role of Duchess, she searches for answers to her mystery abilities, she avoids her maid if at all possible and, she tries to ignore the fact that she still has feelings for Sebastian Stanhope.
Sebastian Stanhope is from an equally impressive family line, is now a handsome and incredibly popular polo player and, is the ex-boyfriend of Imogen’s now-deceased cousin, Lucia. Sebastian knows many, many things about Rockford Manor and Lucia and as Imogen begins to dig deeper into the mysteries of the manor she has to rely on Sebastian and his help to figure everything out. With every twist and turn of the plot, Imogen and Sebastian are drawn deeper into a centuries old mystery that includes paranormal powers, a long-dead Duchess of Wickersham, the Rockford Manor maze and, the answer to how and why Imogen’s family has been eliminated one by one. Like a dog with a bone, Imogen refuses to let go until she understands exactly what it is that Rockford Manor wants from her. What Imogen and Sebastian uncover involves more than one murder, some seriously awesome powers, one faked identity and, a whole lot of mayhem and shenanigans.
The Bottom Line: Oh, hello!! I thoroughly enjoyed this read!! Suspicion is the right kind of YA novel with a fantastic blend of mystery, young love, paranormalcy and, history. Though Imogen is young she is smart, capable and, determined. Since she left Rockford Manor at age ten a whole host of awful has occurred and now that she is back, she is ready to set the situation right again. Setting things to right involves a great deal of research, discovering who she truly is and, uncovering the truth of her family’s deaths. Had Imogen been written as a weaker, less confident character, she never would have been able to pull off everything Imogen accomplishes. Part of the appeal of this read is Imogen’s strength and her dogged determination to uncover the truth. Adding to the appeal of Imogen is the budding romance between her and Sebastian. Sebastian is not the easiest character to warm up to but once he begins to spill his secrets he becomes far more interesting and enjoyable. For as much as I enjoyed the characters it is the backstory/history that I found truly enjoyable. Delving into the history of the Manor and the Duchess who started this whole mess is terribly interesting and creates one of my favorite things in literature, a collision of the past and the present. In all, I found Suspicion to be an excellent read with every aspect being completely appropriate for all YA+ readers.