Mitchell (Love’s 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. Clara’s best friend Lizzie is also aiming for DeVries, and Clara is caught between duty, friendship, and her own desires, which tend more toward Byron’s poetry than bombazine hats. Mitchell’s 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 York’s 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.
I read a review on this book by Jolanthe at No Ordinary Moments last month and I got it from the library right away. It’s a sweet love story but this book offers way more than just a love story! The things I have learned about what women went through in order to debut in society made me feel so grateful that I wasn’t born then and that I don’t have to wear corsets! :-) It is interesting how certain things and ideas (however crazy they might be) were very common and socially accepted in a certain time period and it’s totally outrageous in another. One thing I found ironic is that celebrity gossips never get old and that the power of media in any time period is quite overwhelming and sometimes scary….
I enjoyed Siri Mitchell and I look forward to reading more novels by her in the future!