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4 Stars Out Of 5
April 25, 2012
My debut read by Siri Mitchell, She Walks in Beauty, was most interesting. Siri delves into New York's high society peopled by the Astors and the Vanderbilts, in addition to the main characters. Clara Carter is the daughter of a prominent physician, and her father has determined that she is to "catch" the De Vries heir. While painting a fascinating picture of New York's Gilded age, Siri also addresses some of the high costs of high fashions of the time, and gives us a glimpse into the early creation of "Celebrity" by the media. Politics and Tammany Hall are also addressed.
I enjoyed reading this novel, and am now heading towards little bit of a Siri Mitchell "kick." I was entertained by her sense of humor and lithe descriptions of personalities and historic environs. I also appreciate the irony in the juxtaposition of Siri's description of a fashionable debutante who is made to feel worthless, in spite of her brains and beauty, by the people who appear to value her the most~ the concept that no matter what she does it will never be enough, with the certainty that God loves us "Just as I am" ~ and that hold for the wealthy as well as the poor~ we all need Him equally, whether residing in a mansion or a tenement.
*Disclaimer~ I received this book for free in hopes that I would write a review. My review was based on the paperback version of this title, not the ebook.
When I first started reading this book I wasn't sure if I would like it. Mainly because the character is a young girl and I didn't think I could relate. However, as I read on I found myself more absorbed in the book. I really did enjoy it. I loved the setting of the story and the time period of the book. The ending also didn't disappoint!
"She Walks in Beauty" is a historical romance set in 1891 in New York City. The story was rich with historical detail, especially about the social season and fashions. The characters were engaging and acted realistically. I liked what Clara learned about romance. It wasn't a typical "oh, he makes my heart beat wildly! I must love him..." romance novel.
A point was made about Clara receiving an education in math and science instead of social graces and how she wanted to go college, so I was surprised that desire was never brought up again later. The suspense in the story was mainly seeing if Clara would make good choices despite the pressure she was under and if she'd end up with the man best suited to her.
After being convinced by her aunt that no one will like her unless she tortures herself to become the current notion of beautiful, Clara longs for someone to love her just as she is--too tall, big lips, and without a 18 inch waist. She remembers a hymn from church, "Just As I Am," and as the story progresses she comes to realize that God loves her just as she is.
There were no sex scenes. There was a very minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and engaging novel.