Title: She Walks in Beauty
Author: Siri Mitchell
Genre: Historical Fiction
Alerts/Warnings: Talks about tennements, addiction, brief mention of having a child out of wedlock. The thing that people might find the most troublesome are the issues that are mentioned around the corsets and female body parts not staying where they are supposed to. (This is a novel of society in the 1890's. I have done a great deal of research into this time period and everything is accurate and non graphic. There are mentions of all the things I listed above, but I honestly felt it was accurate and was done in a tasteful way so as to give the necessary information to create a real world, but not so heavy handed so as to offend or distract. But that's my opinion. Take it as you will.)
Premise: For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work--there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling. Yet Clara wonders if this is the life she really wants, especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is, and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her heart at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game. (goodreads.com)
Opinions: I loved this book. I thought it was a very accurate look at the life of a debutante in the late 1800's. It is disturbing how society wanted a woman to look, to act, to be. We follow Clara who has a brilliant mind and spitfire spirit. Clara has no desire to be a debutante. She has little desire to dance, flirt and woo her way into the heart of the city's most eligable bachelor. Yet, she has little choice. She is a woman in the 1890's. So she does as her father and aunt demand.
This is a really interesting book about trying to be true to yourself and doing what your family wants. I mentioned above that I've done research on this time period (when I was in college for a class project and paper) and I can honestly say that in my opinion it is one of the most brilliantly accurate books about the 1890's that has been written in the twentyfirst century (at least that I have read).
I loved the characters and how they dealt with each other. I also loved the love story and how it all turned up. I found myself surprised several times. This is a wonderfully, fantastic book. I very much enjoyed it. (Can you tell that I liked this book?)