Duchess took me away to the glitter of Hollywood -- a place where things are not always as they seem. And things are not as they seem in Duchess' life, either: a starlet is actually a society lady, a stuntman is a duke and a movie is a cover for a ... well, I better not say too much more about that.
Rosie/Roxy is not a Christian for most of the book, so she acts as a non-Christian would during the roaring twenties -- a time when "anything goes." Although she always has reasons for her actions, she follows her own heart and gets deeper and deeper in trouble as she and her movie company falls on hard times. But author Susan May Warren makes sure that God has a plan for Rosie's life.
Rolfe also has plans: plans to rescue Jews from the atrocities of Hitler's troops. As an honorable nobleman, he pushes his feelings aside for Rosie and focuses on his humanitarian mission -- at least he tries.
My favorite part? I'd have to say it was the plot, the settings the character arcs and the romance, especially the romance. Yes, all of it. Rosie grew from a vain, shallow performer to a warm, caring woman who understood her true calling in life. The romance between Rosie and Rolfe was a sizzling push-pull that carried me away with it.
It took me to exotic locations: glamorous Hollywood and picturesque Paris. But the part that affected me most were the scenes set in war-torn Europe. I felt the terror of the invasion, the heartbreak of watching loved ones led away by Nazis and the betrayal of ... well, I won't spoil it for you.
As a writer, I study Warren's writing to learn how to develop my own characters. But as a reader, I read her books to be swept away to another world and another place where I can escape my everyday life to spend a few pleasant hours in exotic locations and romantic times. This is where she shines.
Rich in history, culture and characters "Duchess" is a smashing conclusion to a dramatic and dynamic series.
The third in the series and the conclusion I've been waiting for, I was certainly not disappointed with this latest historical novel. If fact, I was beyond intrigued and loved delving into the world of Hollywood, stardom and the human condition. If there is one thing to point out in all of these books that make them, shall we say_grittier? Darker? Deeper? than others is the strong link of the human condition woven through each one.
There aren't many places this book didn't go. Hatred. Jealousy. Love. Forgiveness. Redemption. It's a masterful plot woven with intricacies through the deepest and darkest in the human heart, only to be risen above it all by the redemption of our Savior.
I've watched this cast of characters across three novels. I'm not sure which remains the "best" or rather the one I liked the strongest, but I can say, I look forward to going back and reading each one over again, closer together this time, so I might better remember all the characters and their roles.
I loved the history. I loved that the story was set in Hollywood and we saw under all the glitz and glamour. This and its two preceding titles are powerful stories. Stories that echo and resound within the reader. Recommended for mature readers and lovers of great story!
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through Litfuse for my copy to review.
The Daughters of Fortune series follows the females of the Worth/Price families, and this last novel of the trilogy features Rosie Worth. I've said in previous reviews that the books need to be read in order, and that holds true again. The characters change generations from the first to the last books, and it would definitely heighten your enjoyment if you knew the background of the current story (obvious spoilers will be provided in book three if you start the series here).
Duchess focuses on Rosie, the daughter of Jinx, who desires to be a movie star. She gets her wish, and yet she slowly begins to realize that living the life of the rich and famous can also be empty and full of heartache. She struggles to find her path and even though good friends encourage her, she still rejects God and the notion that faith in Him could fill her up. She seeks love in the wrong places, and when she does find it she can't find a way to hang on to it. Through all her bad choices, we still root for her because we know that there has to be a happy ending, right?
Turns out there is a war brewing in Europe in 1938, and the German Jewish are being persecuted. Rosie finds herself in the middle of it with Rolfe Van Horne, and just like a blond starlet she has no idea what is going on around her. Alongside this growing tension, Rosie learns to accept the biblical phrase, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." How Rosie finally embraces this is our ultimate journey, and with this faith theme alongside a bit of intrigue this series is much like a soap opera, but with style. The Nazi plot line doesn't take precedence until the last section of the book, so don't buy this thinking you're getting a full look at the impending war. Most of the novel focuses on Rosie's relationships and the people she connects with, which eventually will bring us to the climax of the Nazi theme. Meanwhile, we'll just have to sit back and enjoy the movies and the glitzy ride that Rosie brings us on.
Previous threads of untied story lines do get a chance to be resolved in this conclusion, and since I've thoroughly enjoyed this Daughters of Fortune journey I am sad to see it end. I absolutely loved reading the author's note, as the biblical themes all came together with a huge dose of redemption, but I don't want to spoil it and clue you in. Duchess is a very well plotted story that totally had me crying at the end!! I really wish the editing were a little bit more polished, as I spotted at least two errors. Still, with the dramatic writing style of Susan May Warren, I am wondering if I could step out of my comfort zone of historical themes and read one of her many contemporary novels. Definitely something worth looking into.
Thank you so much to LitFuse to providing me with a copy of Duchess to review! This series is special to me, because it was book one that actually turned me on to the Christian historical genre in 2011, and I haven't looked back since.
Lights. Camera. Action. All she ever wanted was to make it big in Hollywood as an actress. In fact she even married the right man that she believe would help make it come true. Dashielle Parks had offered her the sun, the moon and the stars. When she met him in Paris, she feel head over heels in love with the possibility she might truly forget her first love and when he proposed marriage and a steady, seven-year contract with Palace Studios, she felt that she hit the jackpot. It wasn't a marriage based on love, but on business and something that was never disclosed to anyone but Rosie Worth somehow felt cheated yet she couldn't quite put her finger on what it was and soon hoped that one day, Dash might have true feelings for her like any husband would.
But as time went on, and other women turned Dash's head, she soon resolved to pour all her efforts and energy into her films. It was the golden age of film making in Hollywood and Palace Studios was working hard to keep up with the big players in the film industry, MGM and Warner Bros. Now going by the name of Roxy Price, Dash is doing everything he can to keep his head above water and hope that some day soon, they might just make a film to generate enough money to keep their business from going under. Soon Roxy learns that Dash has sold her out to another production company in order to keep Palace Studios from going under and it's there she meets a man she could truly fall head over heels in love with, if only she weren't married. But what harm would it do since no one knows about her marriage and Dash seems busy with other beautiful women and isn't committed to their marriage at all. She soon learns that the man she didn't want anything to do with so many years ago, is the same man she is falling in love with after all.
However like all good dreams, soon what goes up, must eventually come down, and so the Palace Studios does during the great stock market crash. It seems the entire facade that Dash put on display for the world to see, wasn't the true picture after all. He believed if he could invest in all the right places, soon the dividends would come through and save the struggling studio business. Since most of Rosie's movies were drawing just enough to cover expenses, he hoped that by mortgaging off their home and business might prove to be just the thing to keep them going along with the big studios. But fate can be cruel sometimes and that is just what happens when Fate shows its head in the lives of Dash and Rosie.
In the conclusion to the Daughter's of Fortune series by Susan May Warren, Duchess takes us back to the golden age of Hollywood, when actors and actresses were making movies and giving their fans a chance to escape their every day boring routines and live vicariously through the eyes of the big movie screen idols. We get to see Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Lionel Barrymore, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks through the eyes of a struggling starlet, Roxy Price or otherwise known as Rosie Worth, granddaughter to August Price, a wealthy newspaper magnate. Now that Rosie has opted to forgo her inheritance and is trying to make a go of it in Hollywood, I find it interesting the twists and turns she has to undergo to try and make it to the big screen. Susan May Warren chose to use the back story of United Artists, a movie studio formerly owned in by Hollywood icons D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks as her bases for Palace Studios and I think she did an exceptional job at transporting the reader back to that golden age as movies were just beginning to evolve from silent films into talking pictures or "talkies."
I received Duchess by Susan May Warren compliments of Summerside Press and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. I LOVED this conclusion to the Daughter's of Fortune series. Being a huge fan now of classic movies, it was wonderful to see this through Rosie's eyes and get the opportunity to see this time in history with new perspective. Susan May Warren had such more direction she could have taken this final novel in the series but I love the path she so eloquently chose. I feel in love and struggled like Rosie did through her choices and got to see that for an up and coming actress the path to the big screen wasn't as easy as most dreamed it could be. If you love historical fiction dealing with the late 20's and 30's from old Hollywood, then you will LOVE this one. Even though it's written as a series, you can pick this one up and enjoy it, but you'll want to know a bit about the history Rosie had prior to her trip to Hollywood and the difficult relationship she shares with her mother, Jinx. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars. I only wish there were more to this series to look forward to with this being the conclusion.
I don't even know how to review this book. Whatever I say is not going to do it justice. Duchess is the final book in the Daughters of Fortune trilogy, which spanned three generations. It truly felt like the culmination of an epic at the end.
Susan May Warren writes amazing characters. They just become like good friends. And her stories are always surprising, informative, and inspiring. This is Rosie's story. She starts out running away from a tormented past and trying to make it big in old Hollywood, but of course there are some bumps and detours along the way, and eventually she has to decide if making it big is what she really wants and if accolades and applause are enough.
I loved basically everything about this book. All the authentic characters, the intertwining story lines, and setting! From the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood, to cafes in Paris, and waltzes in Vienna. It was amazing and fun, and I learned a lot actually. I loved the behind the scenes look at Hollywood and movie production. And I got a kick out of reading about the casting and production of Gone with the Wind (my absolute favorite book and movie.) I loved that the plot had a whole deeper layer to it that, for most of the book you're totally unaware of, as is Rosie. The twist reminded me of old war movies like Casablanca, or the production that Rosie was supposed to be staring in in the book.
I enjoyed reading about Rosie. She has flaws, she's already had a rough life, as we read about in Baroness, and she has some wounds and battle scars to show for it. She doesn't always make the best decisions and she knows that. But she's spunky and stubborn and strong. Even courageous when it counts. I liked that her decisions, even her bad ones, rang true. I liked that she admitted, at least to herself, when she knew that she might be making a mistake, but she was feeling lonely/sad/desperate/scared/selfish and just didn't care. I think we've all had those moments. I also liked that she didn't quit trying. She never gave up and she did eventually get her happy ending.
One thing I like about all of Susan May Warren's writing is that she doesn't push issues under the rug. She treats her characters like real people. If they've had a tragedy in the past it effects them, falling in love with "the one" doesn't make it all go away. Her characters always have to work through their own issues independent of whatever love story may be going on. Whether they have support from the love interest or not, the characters always have to ultimately face themselves and their issues head on and go through the process of dealing with them, not running away or covering them up. I respect that and I enjoy reading about it. Well, Susan makes it enjoyable to read about. And at the end you come away much more satisfied than if the story was just girl meets boy, they fall in love and all their problems magically disappear, they live happily ever after, the end. :)