The Mystery of Haverford House

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Pub Date 14 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 17 Mar 2024

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A captivating and moving tale of love, the true meaning of home, and the haunting secrets that can bind generations.

1933. Annie Bishop is sixteen years old when she first climbs the steps of Haverford House ready to take service as a maid. She knows her place until, during a summer of high society, she crosses paths with wealthy America heir, Thomas Everard. In his arms, Annie dares to dream of a different life.

Until she vanishes without a trace.

2003. Viola Hendricks knows what it's like to dream big. So when she reads about Annie’s disappearance shortly before she sees an advert for a job at Haverford House, it seems fate is at work. Five years later, when the house faces closure, Viola is determined to do everything she can to keep it open. What’s not in her plans is enigmatic American Chase Matthews, with an agenda of his own…

If they want to save Haverford House, they must look for answers together - but are they prepared for the truth about what really happened to Annie Bishop?

Perfect for fans of Rachel Hore, Lorna Cook and Kathryn Hughes.

A captivating and moving tale of love, the true meaning of home, and the haunting secrets that can bind generations.

1933. Annie Bishop is sixteen years old when she first climbs the steps of...

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Average rating from 48 members

Featured Reviews

Viola Hendricks smells a story. She’s heard about Annie Bishop, a young woman who was a maid at the luxurious Haverford House in 1933. Annie he was swept off her feet by the wealthy American, Thomas Everard, and dared to dream she might have a life with a man decidedly above her station. But then she mysteriously disappeared. Viola wants to uncover the real story, and a job opening at Haverford house is her way in. What she doesn’t expect is to fall under the spell of the grand home and becoming embroiled in the fight to save it. Other parallels are drawn between Annie and Viola when Viola finds herself falling for a wealthy American, just like Annie did

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An emotional and heartwarming story!

I truly enjoyed very much Rachel Burton’s touching book The Mystery of Haverford House!
I loved the fact that it tells a story that interweaves the lives of two women Annie and Viola.

I appreciated how the two timelines, 1933 and 2003, were linked!
I became very intrigued as the story progressed.
I really found her two main characters touching, they are well developed!

The author did a great job creating the intrigue and suspense.

What can I say? I’m so glad to have discovered this new-to-me author. I will surely read her next books! I recommend this one!

"I received a complimentary copy of this book from Aries Fiction Books and NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

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I initially saw the two distinct stories of Annie Bishop in the 1930s and Viola in the present as linked via Haverford House, a grand but struggling home full of secrets and in need of a lot of money for its upkeep. However, it soon became apparent that there is so much more these two characters have in common. As both struggle with being torn between their family, their heart and their ambitions, it is clear that despite nearly a century between them, similar issues still persist. I could not stop reading this book, I quickly became so invested in both Annie and Viola's story, their characters were both so well developed and the plot pace was so well done I just had to keep finding out more to have answers to the mystery and what would become of both of their fates.
A beautiful, riveting dual timeline romance and mystery that sweeps you up in the storytelling..

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Not usually into mysteries but I loved this book. Set between 2 different times. Annie starts to work in Haverford House and then in 1933 she vanished. Forward to 2003 Viola is working there and uses Annie as a subject in the tours of the house. She is so enthralled with the story that she wants to find out what happens to Annie

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Loved this book as it was a dual timeline story line. Very well written and the chapters were very well connected as per the time line. I can see this book very popular with retired females as they can relate to the characters. Finding yourself as going forward toward the unknown is scarey but worth taking the leap. Yes this book is worth reading and will make you think .

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I look forward to reading more from this author. Two women in different time periods are linked together through an old British mansion(Haverford House). What happened to Annie Bishop in a previous time? Was she murdered or did she just disappear? Enter Viola Hendrix in the present seeking to find new meaning in her life working at the Haverford House. How these two women's lives interact leads to a fascinating read. Highly recommended.

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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher. Really enjoyed this read, great storyline and great characters would recommend to others.

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Another fabulous, well written and intriguing story from Rachel Burton. I love historical novels set in grand houses and this one ticks all the boxes - two time lines (1933 and 2003), two women falling for a mysterious American (Annie and Viola), and the gorgeous setting of Haverford House (the family home of Lord Haverford with a small household staff in 1933; and struggling to stay within the family in 2003 due to spiralling debts).
This gorgeous book pulls you in and you find yourself swept up in the mystery of what happened to Annie Bishop and why she disappeared on the night of a party in 1933. Highly recommended ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Such a great book, I loved the overlap between history and now but also the over lap of the characters and the similar emotions. It was a really great book. I loved the details about the house from both periods. Thank you NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

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I remember enjoying a previous book by this author, so I was excited to read this one. It was a mystery with a timeslip element, so there were two narratives, and I felt a connection with both sets of characters. I enjoyed escaping with this story for a little while.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a free copy to review.

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I just couldn't put this book down. I really liked the dual timeline it worked so well. Great characters and a captivating story. Viola was a tenacious lady striving to keep the house open - thank goodness for toads - who would have thought they would help to save the house. So many secrets from the past. I loved Annie's story a tale of love and friendship, what a lady.

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This atmospheric historical mystery plays out over a dual timeline. Set in the York village of Cranmere, the main focus is on Haversford House, a Georgian mansion, located on top of a hill overlooking the village. Once the heart and soul of the village, it’s now struggling to stay afloat. This novel well researched and had beautifully descriptions of the house and grounds. I could picture the house in its heyday, buzzing with life. I wanted to walk up the grand staircase, stare a the elaborately painted ballroom ceiling, visit the dollhouses, walk around the beautiful grounds then have afternoon tea and watch a Shakespeare show on the grounds.

Linking the two timelines is the mystery of what happened to housemaid Annie, who disappeared without a trace in 1933. Both timelines were held my attention and the story moved seamlessly between the two. In the historical story we get to know Annie as she starts work at Haversford house in 1928, get to know her, her family and what it was like to work in a house of its type. It finishes up in 1933, the day she disappears. The moderns timelines focused on Viola Hendricks, who manages Haversford Hiuse as tourist destination. Like other manors of the time, visitor numbers are decreasing and it’s now struggling to stay afloat, despite its infamous history of Annie’s disappearance.

I really enjoyed Viola as a main character, particularly her back story, relationship with twin brother Sebastian, her interactions with newcomer Chase Matthews and Saskia, the dowager countess and her connections with Australia. Annie was interesting as a woman ahead of her time. I loved the links to Shakespeare and found the examination of class and domestic violence of the time interesting. Another solid historical mystery from Burton.

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The Mystery of Haverford House is a dual timeline story, with the first timeline taking place in 2003 and the second timeline taking place from 1928 to 1933. During the 2003 timeline, we meet Viola, an Australian who is the manager at Haverford House in the Yorkshire area of the UK, which is open to the public although owned by the 7th Earl of Haverford and his family. We learn about Annie Bishop, a ladies' maid who went missing in 1933 after leaving a note that she was running away to America. Did Annie run away or was she murdered? There is also another voice, that of an elderly author, considering a trip to Haverford House but we do not learn who that is until the story is almost complete. The older timeline is in the voice of Annie Bishop herself. The story drew me in right away and I found myself reading whenever I could as I wanted to find out what happened to Annie and her friend Polly as well as the aristocratic family she took care of. I enjoyed the story with its likeable characters and it gave me the satisfying ending I love so much. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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Another great read by Rachel Burton

Annie Bishop worked as a servant at Haverford House, she aspired for something more ..... in the summer of 1933 she mysteriously disappears.

Years later, Viola is employed by the Dowager to market the facilities of the failing house, the disappearance of Annie is a local legend and she uses this when doing tours of the house.

Viola looks at ways of saving the house from being turned into a hotel, the heir of the house wants to get rid of the house and brings over an American to try and buy the house.... a great story to read .

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This was a great story, captivated me from the start. It is told in alternating times, with both times connected by The Haverford House. Viola has been working at the historical house for five years, and loves it beyond measure. She is devastated to learn it will be closing, especially before she. can uncover the 70 year old mystery of the missing maid, Annie Bishop. By going back and forth between the present and past, the plot slowly builds and the reader is given insight into whaat happened all those years ago, and how it has shaped the present. A really enjoyable read - little mystery, love, friendship, and starting over.
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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My rating:

Plot: 5 out of 5 stars
Writing: 4 out of 5 stars
Character development: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Recommended for readers of:

Historical Fiction


This is an intriguing plot, set at an old English country home from which a woman disappeared. What happened to her is still a mystery seventy years later. This is what grabbed my attention. The fact that it’s written over a dual timeline added an extra dimension to the story and made it more interesting. The book is well-written with fascinating characters. They all have their own problems and issues, but their actions are explained well, which made them interesting and true to life.


A well-written and captivating story with great character development and the right amount of mystery and suspense.

Review copy provided through Netgalley at no cost to me.

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This is a perfect example for a good dual timeline novel.
Both storylines are equally interesting, they linked very well.
1933, Annie bishop , the housemate of haverford house, went missing. The mystery never solved. For all these years, the haverford house attracted many tourists. As well as Viola.
In both timeline, the house was in difficult financial condition, Annie and Viola both loved Shakespeare. What was happened to Annie, If viola will be able to save the house ?
The wrighting is not fancy, but it is really comfortable to read, The tine line jumps between is not anointing at all. I love both girls, and the ending is satisfying me.
Highly recommended

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This latest novel by Rachel Burton is perfect for fans of dual timeline stories. I enjoyed both narratives and found the parallels between Annie and Viola's lives to add to the intrigue. The author makes them easy to tell apart, and both plots are riveting with just the right amount of mystery. The English manor home is, of course, an atmospheric and terrific setting. The mystery of what happened to Annie kept me curious even in a 400=page book. The romance angle is also strong. Recommended for fans of women's fiction and historical fiction.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance e-galley; all opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy.

I really enjoyed reading this book and couldn’t put it down.

It’s a dual timeline story set in 1933 and the present.

In 1933 Annie, came to Haverford House to work as a servant at Haverford House. But she hoped to do something else. In the same year, during Summer, she vanishes, under a cloud of mystery. Where or why she went no one was able to find out. Over the years, the house attracted visitors.

In the present, Viola is offered a position by the Dowager to try and find ways so that the different areas of the house can be showcased better.

The mystery of Annie’s disappearance is now become a legend, and tourists always ask her about it during her tours.

As the heir wants to sell, Viola is wanting to save the house from being turned into something else.

Will Viola succeed and will Annie’s mystery be solved?

I highly recommend this book.

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Thank you for the chance to read this ARC in return for my honest opinion

I had not read any books by this author before but the blurb caught my eye and intrigued me.

I rarely read a book in one sitting - but this time I spent over 11 hours with my husband in an Emergency Department - and took a book along.

This is a dual timeline story - with a slight degree of added intrigue (though I had worked out the connection early on) - set in the present and pre-WW2 in a large country residence and involved those above and below stairs.
It was well written and well thought through and made for a pleasant read.
in fact I had got a long way through before I realised I had - which again is unusual.

A great book for those that love historical fiction and mystery books

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If you enjoyed The Last Party at Silverton Hall you are in for a real treat with Rachel Burton's newest book out on 14th March. The story weaves together two timelines at the stately home. In 1933 Annie Bishop is employed as a live in maid at the country house that had employed her mother until she married. Life in service is a little different now after the Great War and the family seem to be fighting a losing battle trying to keep their lifestyle in the way that it always has been. Annie knows where she fits into this life and doesn't dare to dream of anything else until a wealthy American comes to stay for the summer. Thomas Everard forces her to look at her life differently. Then she vanishes overnight without a trace.

In 2003 the house still belongs to the family who are struggling to hang on it. Open to the public during the Spring and Summer months the visitor numbers aren't high enough to cover the escalating repair bills. Viola Hendricks manages the house and is doing everything in her power to try and keep the house going. This beautiful house is the only place that has felt like home since she left Australia. She does her best to capitalise on the mystery of Annie's disappearance but it is looking more likely that this will be the last season for Haverford House. The first part of the book runs a little slow as you are introduced to all the characters and the scene is set. Think later series of Downton Abbey and you won't be far off. Stick with it though as once the events of 1933 start to play out in all their glory you won't be able to put it down.

Beautifully described, it feels like you are right there in the House with both sets of protagonists and the Shakespearean play that links both eras is a touch of genius.

Supplied by Net Galley and Aria & Aries in exchange for an honest review.

UK Publication Date: Mar 14 2024. 400 pages.

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A well done dual time line story- 1933 and 2003- about Annie, a woman who went missing, and Viola who becomes fascinated with her story. What really happened to Annie at Haverford House? No spoilers. The atmospherics and characters are good- and there's a twist or two waiting for you. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read.

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Brilliant historical story on two timelines from the late 1920’s/1930’s to 2003, set predominately in Yorkshire.
Annie Bishop starts working at Haverford House in Yorkshire when she is 16 years old just as her mum had done before, and where her parents had met. Getting used to being part of the staff and her daily work is hard but her love of books, especially the works of Shakespeare, take her through.
Viola is fed up of her life and boyfriend in London, inspired by an article of Haverford House, she hotfoots it to Yorkshire and lands the job of manager introducing schemes to keep the manor thriving in the local community.
Well written, great characters and hugely enjoyable. The book gripped me and flowed from the first page to the last. Loved this story. The history and traditions from the 20’s through to the beginning of this century were fascinating. Great details of the everyday along with drama.
Hugely enjoyed and will be recommended.
Thank you to NetGalley and Aria for the early read.

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Another story with two timelines. 1933 England Annie, like her mother enters service at Haverford House. Unlike her mother Annie dreams big, and seeks a future without being subservient to the owners and their ilk, who treat domestics as part of the furniture. One day Annie Bishop disappears and a legend starts.

2003 Haverford Houseis under threat of going under and the myth of Annie Bishop is waning. Viola who has worked five years in keeping the house going, now realizes that she has to accept the reality however unpleasant that the house will go up for sale, probably a modern hotel.

The stories from both decades are actually about social change, in the former period radical with WWI And the rise of feminism. In the latter period the bald fact that the privileged life of the “big houses” has come to an end and that the National Trust can only do so much to preserve such buildings.

Descriptive and still very much personal stories of Annie and Viola made for interesting reading.

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Loved it! My favorite part was the mystery surrounding Annie's mysterious disappearance. Loved how the book alternated between Annie working at Haverford House in the late 1920s/ early 1930s and Viola at the same place in 2003. Times definitely changed. It was hard to believe Annie's timeline too place during the 1930swith all the servants and class divisions. Prunella and Cecily couldn't do anything for themselves (especially Prunella) and needed to have a lady's maid. The girls couldn't even get dressed themselves or do their own hair. It seemed if you were a Lord or a Lady you were no longer capable of doing anything except telling someone else to do it for you.

I was hoping Viola would be able to come up with enough lucrative ideas to keep Haverford House open and be able to maintain all of it's upkeep. The House sounded like a beautiful place to visit, especially with all the gardens. Viola felt like Haverford was her home.

Definitely recommend the book. Loved the story, characters and writing style. Haverford House held so many secrets over the years. Look forward to reading more books by the author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Aria & Aries through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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The description of this book really interested me and it didn’t disappoint. I would definitely recommend it. I loved the two timeline stories. The characters and writing style were great. Rachel Burton is a brilliant author. and I look forward to reading more books by her. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for giving me access to an early copy of this book.

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Really enjoyed this, a dual timeline story set in Yorkshire, and my third outing with Rachel Burton.
Annie Bishop, a lady’s maid, disappeared during a party in 1933 and was never seen again. The story has become shrouded in mystery and is part of the attraction for those who visit Haverford House.
In 2003, Australian Viola Hendricks works with the Dowager Duchess Seraphina, helping to run the small stately home. Annie’s disappearance has become a central part of her official tour of the house. Despite this, it has become increasingly difficult to attract visitors and Viola learns that this could be the last summer the house will be open to the public as the new duke is looking to sell the estate. Viola has lived at Haverford for five years and despite working hard to create a successful business, it looks as though they will need a miracle to keep it open
Annie’s life as a maid intertwines with Viola’s twenty first century story and there is an additional voice. An elderly crime writer who lives in New York. After reading an interesting news item in the paper, she decides to travel to the UK and pay a visit to Haverford House. It’s a journey that could just change everything.
This is a well written story both from Annie and Viola’s viewpoints. Although decades apart, there is so much about their lives that complement each other. Both women have close ties to family, Annie with her mother and Viola with her twin brother Sebastian. They also experience challenges and events which ultimately change their lives. And, of course, they both fall in love. I enjoyed what I called the ‘Downton Abbey’ part of the book, and life in a country house as lived by the servants. I also understood Viola’s passion for the Haverford, and the hard work she had put in to turn it into a credible business. All in all, a lovely read. Rachel Burton is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.
I would like to thank Aria/Aries, the author and Netgalley for an ARC of The Mystery of Haverford House in exchange for an honest review.

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Annie Bishop is the central character in this dual timeline set in 1933 and 2003 and she's a very likeable one. Haverford House also features in both timelines. There is a great cast of characters and I liked the below stairs people best. The mystery is excellent. I did guess early on, to a degree, what happened to Annie but it didn't detract from the story as I still didn't have the whole picture.
The present day story was enjoyable but it was the past that really hooked me. Little bits of what WE call history, real events, were dropped into the story as of course they were current at the time.
I love an epilogue but I would have liked more in this one. I needed to know what became of some of the others who had featured quite prominently and who I had been invested in. Saying that, it wasn't worth dropping a star for as I flew through this novel and couldn't wait to see the outcome.
This author is new to me and I'll be looking into her other books having read this.
I'd highly recommend this read to fans of historical fiction and anyone who enjoys a mystery.

Thanks to Aria & Aries and NetGalley for an early copy of this book.

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Wonderful storytelling, I loved the links between Annie and Viola - despite the years between them. Although their lives were so different the little similarities in their actions and lives were cleverly detailed.
I’m a fan of different timelines in a story, and this one flowed beautifully.
The descriptions of the house and gardens in both periods were beautifully written and really drew me into the story. You can really understand why Viola is drawn to it and that of Annie’s story.
I really enjoyed the mystery elements of the story, they added a great bit of intrigue and these wrapped in the main story of the wonderful characters of Annie and Viola, really kept me interested in the fate of Haverford House.

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Told in alternating time points in 1933 and 2023, The Mystery of Haverford House is part mystery: part historical fiction. The story follows Annie and Viola who work at Haverford house 70 years apart. I loved the insights into the changing nature of the class system, and the sprawling backdrop of the grand home. I found the first part of the book a bit slow to get into, but I’m glad I persevered. The pace quickened as more characters were introduced and the threads of the mystery were woven together, then I couldn’t put it down! A great read for anyone looking for a cosy mystery with loveable characters.

Thank you to Aries Fiction Books and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are my own.

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It's emotional and intriguing historical fiction. It begins with the need to atone and takes the reader back to a seventy-year-old mystery that haunts a Yorkshire manor. Annie begins her life as a housemaid at sixteen, following her widowed mother's footsteps. She loves books and dares to dream of something more than duty. This wonderfully evocative story moves seamlessly between the late 1920s and early1930s and 2003. Viola has found her place at Haverford but must make amends with her past to embrace her future. I like the multilayered plot with echoes in the past. The believably flawed characters draw the reader into their lives and make them care what happens to them. The historical mystery is lyrical and rich in detail and evokes the dynamics of between-the-wars England. The socio-political ethos and emancipation of women are explored through the characters in an engaging and resonating tale. I like the echoes between the past and present, the characters and the relationship dynamics this story explores.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

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The Mystery at Haverford House is dual time mystery set in 1933 and 2003 in a lovely Georgian mansion in Yorkshire

The book starts in New York where a wealthy older woman reads an article about a body discovered on the estate of Haverford House and decides to take a trip to visit Haverford House as it is meaningful to her past. Meanwhile at Haverford House, Viola Hendricks, event planner for the estate is doing everything she can to keep the estate from being sold. Haverford House has been her only home for the past 5 years and she has always had an affinity to the house and the mysterious disappearance of one of the maids. Annie Bishop in 1933. While trying to save the estate a body is discovered in the old boathouse. Whose body is it and does it have any connection to the disappearance of Annie Bishop? The story is told in alternating chapter between Viola in 2003 and Annie in 1933. Both Viola and Annie were likeable characters who had tragedies in their past to overcome and a need for a place to call home. I enjoyed the book and the mystery did have a nice twist as to whose body was in the boathouse.

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher Aries & Aria and the author for the chance to read and review this book.

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