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Within These Gilded Halls

By: Abigail Wilson
Narrated by: Laura Kirman
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Summary

Hidden treasure and betrayal mingle with unexpected love within the walls of Avonthorpe Hall.

After studying art under Miss Drake, a renowned painter, Phoebe Radcliff is certain she can finally move beyond the childish mistake that’s kept her away from home. She is thrilled when Miss Drake employs her to complete a complicated ballroom renovation.

Everything changes, however, the moment Miss Drake is murdered. With her last breath she imparts the location of a clue to Phoebe. Can the biggest secret of Avonthorpe Hall be true—the rumored treasure real? Phoebe is tasked to finish her work in the ballroom by Miss Drake’s infuriatingly regimented yet all-too-handsome nephew, Lt. Graham Burke. Determined to fulfill the promise she made to her beloved teacher to find the treasure, Phoebe also works to uncover the truth about Miss Drake’s death—and she must do so before Lt. Burke leases the house.

But dark shadows line the gilded halls of Avonthorpe, and soon enough Phoebe realizes she’s not the only person who knows about the clues. What’s worse, she needs Lt. Burke’s help to stay ahead of whoever is hard on her heels. If only she weren’t so attracted to him.

Caught up in a deadly race for answers, Phoebe must find a way to breach the shroud of lies that surrounds every last resident in the house and, more importantly, face a past she’s been running away from for far too long.

  • Regency romance and mystery
  • Stand-alone novel
  • Book length: approximately 95,000 words
  • Also by author: Twilight at Moorington Cross, Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey, and The Vanishing at Loxby Manor
©2022 Abigail Wilson (P)2022 Thomas Nelson

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  • Melissa’s Bookshelf
  • 22-10-22

Another compelling mystery from Abigail Wilson!

Love Abigail Wilson’s books! She perfectly blends clean romance, mystery, political intrigue, and character growth with a faith-filled message, all in a Regency setting. It’s a slow burn romance with characters who go from enemies to friends to more. The plot revolves around a hidden treasure with intricate clues and a murder. There are plenty of suspects with various motivations and just when you think you’ve figured things out, another piece of the puzzle is added.

Phoebe Radcliff is talented, caring, and a bit impetuous. She’s made mistakes in her past which she readily regrets. She’s come to Avonthorpe Hall by invitation from her mentor Miss Drake to renovate the ballroom. Assisting her is her childhood friend Daniel. When Miss Drake’s nephew arrives with Egyptian artifacts, Phoebe is intrigued by him but quickly finds herself at odds with the stuffy Lt. Graham Burke. When Miss Drake is murdered and with her dying breath hints to a clue to a hidden treasure, Phoebe must decide whom to trust in a household of suspects. No one is as they seem and someone else seems to know about the treasure and will do anything to get it.

Told from Phoebe’s perspective, this book was the perfect mystery where each conversation and observation offers another clue. I loved the way Phoebe and Graham start off as enemies, then realize they really need each other and have a lot in common. Both have instances in the past where the people they trusted most let them down. As their romance grows, it’s fun to see the very proper Graham open up. I loved the scene where Phoebe assumes the worst only to find out he is having a sweet conversation with his dog. Their romance reminds me a bit of Pride and Prejudice.

The mystery was completely engaging. Though things started off a bit slow, the tension and suspense ratchet up especially towards the end. It’s a race against time where Phoebe and Graham are trying to find the treasure before anyone else and also solve the murder. Everyone at one point is a suspect with several people hiding behind a facade. Even those closest to Phoebe are suspects. It’s hard to know whom to trust. There’s also a complication from Phoebe’s past that threatens her tenuous relationship with Graham.

I also enjoyed the subtle messages of faith, trusting in God, and forgiveness especially of oneself woven into the story. It’s a must read for inspirational Regency mystery readers. Highly recommend! This book is a standalone, but those familiar with Ms. Wilson’s works will recognize characters from previous books.

The audiobook version of this book is fantastic! I enjoyed the narrator and the way she voiced both male and female characters. She put just the right amount of emotion into it and her voice was pleasant to listen to. I usually speed up the narration to 1.25 and that was the perfect speed for me. I purchased the audiobook copy from Audible and also received an electronic copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review.