Tuesday, November 30, 2010

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

She Walks in BeautyTitle: She Walks in Beauty
Author: Siri Mitchell
Pages: 384
Published: April 2010 by Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764204333
Source: Library

Description: For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work--there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling. Yet Clara wonders if this is the life she really wants, especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is, and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her heart at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

I Give This ...

I've never read anything by Siri Mitchell, but the cover and description had me intrigued.  If they rest of her books are anything like this one, I will have to add them to my to read list.  I was completely enthralled with this one.  It's considered adult historical fiction, but would be totally appropriate for young adult as well.

I had a feeling I would like it considering it's historical fiction and I was reminded of The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen.  Clara is a character that will stick with you after you've read the book.  She's forced into her debut by an aunt with an agenda.  She's not as well rehearsed in the ways of society as her best friend, so her aunt gives her a crash course.  She puts up with it all because she believes it her duty to do soBut, you can see the fire in her.  When she breaks "the rules", she comes out being the belle of the ball unintentionally.  I liked her because she's smart, loyal, and she doesn't fit the mold of the typical debutante.

I also enjoyed the descriptions of the season.  Some of the other books I've read seem to glamorize the process.  This one seems to be the opposite.  The constant competition to "catch" the best man, even with your best friend, must have been exhausting.  Not to mention the politics involved.  Then there's the opera's, the dinner's, the balls, and the at-home days.  All this was done for the best possible match.  And don't get me even started on the corsets...it made me cringe just reading about them.  

A wonderful book that I would have give a 5 too had it not been for the ending.  I guess I was hoping to much for what I thought was the perfect ending.  It still ended well and Clara choose who I wanted her to.  But, the details were different.  I wanted the confrontation and for Clara to stand up for herself.  Although for her to have done that would have been atypical of a young women in that time period.

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