May 15, 2010

Book Review: She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

"My Social Etiquette was not the only thing to fall under Aunt's mania for improvement. She ordered a new hallstand and a new card receiver for the front hall. She decided the furniture in the parlor needed a rearrangement. And she forced a flurry of new French recipes onto the cook. One morning when she found me in the parlor, she turned her attention to my person.

'I have come to decide that your lips are too large. Too wide.'

I raised my had to cover them.

'Yes. That is one thing you can do. You can hide them behind your hand...' She cocked her head and pursed her lips. 'But then one might think that you are yawning. Perhaps better to use a fan. In my day, we all practiced saying the letter P. It had the advantage of puckering the lips. Of making them appear smaller than they were. Try it.'" She Walks in Beauty, pg 61.

Clara Carter wants nothing more than to continue her studies - learning more
science, literature and mathematics - but her father and aunt have different ideas. The De Vries heir has returned early from his trip abroad, and Clara's aunt is insistent that Clara win his hand during this social season in New York. It is time for the debut that Clara has been dreading her whole life. Believing that her family's honor is a stake, Clara puts everything that she has into being the star of the season, but at what cost? And when secrets from the past surface, will Clara still be able to hold her head high?

I really enjoyed the way that Siri Mitchell brought me into the 1890's social scene in this book. The artifice of the characters and the game that everyone was playing would have driven me crazy, if I had lived in that time. I guess I wasn't cut out for the high social setting, much like Clara. I found myself really identifying with this girl who knew that she didn't belong, but felt that she had to play the part to make her family happy. She Walks in Beauty is a wonderful addition to my historical fiction library.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

You're comments are appreciated!