The Secret Heiress

The Secret Heiress

Luke Devenish

Paperback, 422 pages
Expected publication: April 1st 2016 by Simon and Schuster Australia

In this Australian gothic novel two young women 17 years apart, find themselves entangled in the mystery that surrounds the inhabitants of Summersby House.

The story is told in alternating viewpoints and we start with Ida Garfield in 1886.  Young and na├»ve she is employed by the mistress of Summersby House, Matilda Gregory as a housemaid. Yet Ida is not being employed just for her labouring skills but also her natural curiosity. Full of excitement for the start of a new job Ida’s hopes are crushed when Matilda Gregory is found is dead in circumstances that leads to an exodus of staff and a lot of town gossip. Undeterred Ida commences work and soon discovers that there are mysteries to be discovered in Summersby House including unravelling her attraction to recently widowed and handsome Samuel Hackett.

The second point of view is by Biddy, some 17 years later. Biddy is an independent young woman who is estranged from her family and trying to make ends meet. Through a series of coincidences, finds herself employed at Summersby House and embroiled in the same family saga.

The story of Ida’s is the strongest and the anchor point for everything that happens. Her pain, her suffering is real and you really become invested in what is happening. Yet the focus is on Biddy as it is her narrative that brings about an outcome. There are some great twists and turns in the novel and it is difficult to review without giving anything away. Luke Devenish leaves enough clues throughout the novel for you to draw your own conclusions as to what may be going on.

For more information on Luke Devenish head over to his website,

Advanced reading copy provided for an honest review.