Mitchell (Loves Pursuit ) sets her newest historical in Gilded Age New York, an opulent time and place when marrow spoons and exceedingly tight corsets were in vogue among the moneyed. The motherless Clara Carter is making her debut in society, and her aunt and her physician father expect her to win the hand of Franklin DeVries, the wealthiest catch of the season. Claras best friend Lizzie is also aiming for DeVries, and Clara is caught between duty, friendship, and her own desires, which tend more toward Byrons poetry than bombazine hats. Mitchells story is well researched, with fascinating details, and Clara is a complex character. The plot machinery creaks loudly at points: three overheard conversations is at least one too many. A social consciousness plot thread dealing with New Yorks slums is weak. But those who love historicals can have their fill as well as any debutante supping on oysters and clutching her filled dance card; Mitchell delivers the historical goods. (Apr.)Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.