I was excited to read this book. The synopsis of it reminded me some of “A Great and Terrible Beauty” a little bit. This book really wasn’t like that at all; it was okay and somewhat entertaining. I found it to be very predictable and the characters to all be very stereotypical and dull.
This book is set in the late 1800’s in New York. Take every Victorian type story you have previously read and this story follows that storyline. Elizabeth’s wealthy family is short on money; as Elizabeth is one of the most virtuous figures in New York society she is expected to marry into money. Only Elizabeth loves someone outside her station. Her intended husband also loves someone else; and a different someone (Penelope) loves Elizabeth’s intended husband. Of course, Penelope is Elizabeth’s best friend and a bit of a catty type of woman. If you have read a million plots like this before, well, this book ends exactly like you would expect it to.
Overall there is a bit of mystery to the plot and some intrigue which propels the story forward. Unfortunately the characters always do exactly what you think they would do. Some of the conversation and the way characters interact is interesting. The writing style itself was very good and very articulate. The book reminds a bit of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” except that there isn’t much humor in this story and the characters aren’t nearly was witty. I can’t vouche for the accuracy with which this era of New York was portrayed because I just don’t know much about it; I will trust other reviewers who say that a lot of research went into this book.
So, I thought the book was okay. It was a pretty good page turner. I was disappointed however at the lack of witty conversation between the characters and by the predictability of both the plot and the characters. Based on these things I don’t think I will continue with the rest of this series. I just prefer books with a bit more substance and more uniqueness; if they are lacking in those areas sometimes wittiness can make up for it. Unfortunately neither of those were present in this book.