The last words 10 year old Imogen hears from her father is: “There’s something hidden in the maze.” Shortly after making that enigmatic statement, her father, mother, aunt and uncle all perish in an inferno in the maze. This leaves both Imogen and her cousin Lucia orphans. Unable to cope with the tragedy and this mysterious power she seems to be developing, Imogen flees England and Rockford Manor to New York and for the next 7 years lives happily with her guardians and her best friend. Then she is contacted by the lawyer for the estate and is told that both her cousin and grandfather have died which leaves her as the sole heir. Now Imogen must accept the title of Duchess and all the responsibilities that come with it. Once she’s back at Rockland Manor she discovers the mysteries have deepened and the the only thing that is certain is that they involve herself and Sebastian, the childhood friend who she’s always secretly loved.
Suspicion has been hyped as a modern version of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. While it has a similar theme, I actually found it more in keeping with The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. The story flows very nicely and I wound up finishing this over the course of two nights. All the characters were very interesting from Imogen and Sebastian, to the butler, the housekeeper, and her strange daughter. The mystery was well written and the twist actually did surprise me. There were a few things though that prevented this from being a great read for me. First, even though I liked both of the characters, the romance between Imogen and Sebastian just wasn’t believable to me. Secondly, according to the book, not only did the future of Rockland Manor’ s staff depend on Imogen’ s acceptance of the title, but also the adjoining town. Not being English I may be being unfair, but given the contemporary setting, this just seemed a bit overly dramatic. And do women of the aristocracy still have personal maids who run all their errands including their personal shopping? If I’m wrong about this I apologize. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the supernatural element was not only unnecessary, but it was actually distracting. I think Suspicion would have been better off as a straight YA mystery/thriller. Finally, not only did the villain get away, but there were several loose ends which were never resolved. It’s not clear if there will be a sequel so I found this a bit frustrating. Needless to say I find myself conflicted over this book. I’d be interested in hearing what other readers think.