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Book Review: "Hall of Secrets" by Cate Campbell

"Hall of Secrets" by Cate Campbell
Courtesy of Cate Campbell

The 1920's were a time of change. Women held jobs that normally were only considered for men. The fashions became more daring. Birth control and family planning were being discussed. Even diseases like anorexia and bulimia (things we are so familiar with today) were appearing and being talked about. Change was ever so prominent at Benedict Hall, the grand Seattle mansion that was home to the illustrious Benedict family. In "Hall of Secrets" (the sequel to "Benedict Hall"), readers return to Benedict Hall and the Benedict family and learn what the family members they've met already and new family members are up to.

"Hall of Secrets" is told through the perspectives of many characters. There is Dr. Margot Benedict, the independent and feminist doctor who is dealing with a bumpy relationship with her beloved Frank Parrish, opening up a clinic for women that advocates birth control, and dealing with guilt and hurt from her brother Preston's death. Frank Parrish is flying airplanes and dealing with this complicated feelings and disagreements with his free-spirited Margot. Readers briefly met Allison Benedict in "Benedict Hall", but she becomes a main character in "Hall of Secrets" as the cousin of the Benedict family who comes to stay in Seattle and is dealing with her own personal pain, self-confidence, body image issues, and family struggles. "Hall of Secrets" focuses on the inner struggles of characters, the changes of the 1920's, and a dangerous person lurking around the Benedict family.

"Hall of Secrets" is a wonderful follow-up to the fabulous "Benedict Hall". Readers get to explore what the characters they met and fell in love with are up to and meet Allison, a wonderful addition to the family and the novel. Allison's story features a difficult relationship with an even more difficult mother, a sadness and lack of self-confidence, and major body image issues that make her a fascinating and heartbreaking character. Allison's story was common in the 1920's, but hidden due to society and stigmas.

Readers also get to enjoy Margot's journey yet again. Margot's forward thinking ways, her passion for her practice, and her loyalty and kindness make her a captivating characters. She doesn't fit the model of a 1920's glamour and party girl, but is captivating in her individuality. You'll be cheering on her medical practice, her relationship with Frank, and her hopes and dreams.

"Hall of Secrets" is a fresh, interesting, and great novel. If you're in the mood to read about great characters in an interesting time period with some mystery and darkness thrown in, this is the perfect novel for you. Hopefully Campbell continues the saga of Benedict Hall in future novels!

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