Sunday, July 26, 2015

Book Review: The Secret Life of Violet Grant

The Secret Life of Violet GrantAuthor: Beatriz Williams
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Passion, redemption, and a battered suitcase full of secrets: the New York Times-bestselling author of A Hundred Summers returns with another engrossing tale.

Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history.

Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: for all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe’s fateful summer interrupts this delicate détente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel’s shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own.

As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet’s story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad . . . and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future––and the love––she wants most.

“Youth is wasted on the young.” 

“All men are brutes.” 

“I thought, how magical, the first glimspe of snow. By March I would be sick of it, but here in this November instant those tiny flakes swirled with the unspeakable purity of a divine gift.” 

I discovered that I love Beatriz Williams a little earlier in 2015 and I cannot stop now until I have read every book she has written. Did I mention that she has another book releasing in November of this year? I am so pumped! Anyway, I found out about this book after reading Tiny Little Thing, which released in June of this year. These books follow three sisters, the Schyler sisters, and the last book that is coming out later this year will focus on the last sister; however, they are not a series and can be read as standalone novels; it just makes it so much more fun to compare the girls and know their backstories. This particular novel was not as good as the previous one that I read this year, but it was still enough to keep me enticed and needless to say I finished a five hundred page book in two days, so you know it was still jaw-dropping. I was intrigued by the synopsis because of the missing person aspect and because I was so excited to see how Vivian would compare to her sister Christina; night and day difference!

Even though I enjoyed Christina’s story better in Tiny Little Thing, Vivian’s story was still so wonderfully written and enchanting. Vivian is a brilliant character; she is bold and courageous in a time when women were still inferior to men. She is daring and takes risks, which is precisely how she ends up on a goose chase trying to find her great aunt who has been missing for years and years and has already been written off by their family. This historical fiction novel has a little something for everyone: war, murder, romance, unexpected twists and turns, suspense and intrigue. The chapters parallel between Vivian in 1964 and her aunt Violet in 1914 before the start of World War I. It was hard to trust any character in this book, which made it all the more fun to read. Some of the characters make jaw-dropping decisions and will surprise you around every corner. This was the perfect beach read!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at G.P. Putnam’s Sons in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really good and I am loving all of the books set around WWI, recently!

    Kate @ Ex Libris