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Title: The Dirty Secrets of Markham Savoy (Colebrook Academy #1)
Author: C.C. Dalton
Publisher: Twist Literary
Released: 6th August 2013
Rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Dirty Secrets of Markham Savoy was not what I was expecting, in more ways than one. It's a quick, entertaining read that, while it may not have much going on, still manages to capture life at Colebrook Academy. At the centre of this school is Markham Savoy. Markham deals in secrets and favours, and through that effectively manages the school. He is always in control and he never betrays anything about himself. There's only one exception: Piper Harrington. When he makes an arrangement that involves Piper, he unwittingly finds himself in a position he is unused to: he is in her debt. Forced to give up one of his own secrets and repay a favour, Markham finds himself at the start of something new.
Despite the surprisingly short length, it is very easy to get a sense of how Colebrook Academy works and how Markham is able to keep everyone under his control - well, almost everyone, but I'll get to that in a minute. Markham is an intriguing character. I'm not sure I like how - to put it in Piper's terms - he micromanages everyone, but at the same time I can't help but wonder why he is the way he is. He clearly has his own secrets, and feelings and thoughts that he disguises; even as a reader, I don't know much more about him than any given character he interacts with, and I'm curious to see what hides behind the exterior. The one thing that is made abundantly clear is how much he cares for his younger sister; while he is overprotective by far, he does genuinely love her and want to look out for her.
Piper's character is the one that prevents it from being truly everyone under Markham's thumb. I liked Piper simply for being immune to Markham's charms and being able to see through the pretences and pretty words. It was good to see her stand up to him and actually turn the tables so he was on less sure footing. Since this is in third person narrative but through Markham's perspective, we only see her through his eyes - and yet it's enough to know that she is a strong character. Dalton doesn't make this into a romance despite the fact that our protagonist likes her, and I was glad of that. Still, it's clear that Piper's effect on him is a positive one, which leaves me hopeful that we'll see more character growth as the series progresses, despite the fact that each narrative revolves around a different character.
The synopsis doesn't really prepare you for what lies in these pages, but don't let that put you off. The Dirty Secrets of Markham Savoy was a decent read that I got through in no time at all, and is written in such a way that the reader can automatically understand both the world and the characters. It sets a good basis for the rest of the series.
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