Tuesday, July 13, 2010

She Walks in Beauty

She Walks in BeautyShe Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

On the library stacks: Adult fiction
Recommended for: Grades 9+

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clara Carter is a studious girl who would much rather have her nose in her precious book of Byron poems than worry about which New York City socialite she should marry. But her aunt and father abruptly decide that she is to debut a year earlier than planned when the De Vries heir returns home from his Continental tour a year early. They tell Clara that she must capture the heart of the heir and marry him to restore her family's honor, but Clara wants to marry for love.

This is an engaging historical fiction novel set in the Gilded Age of the 1890s. For the city elite, that means life revolves around dinner parties, corsets, balls, fashion, and carriage rides. But for others, it means horrific factory working conditions, poverty, and tenement living. Clara has been sheltered her whole life from such unpleasantness, but as she uncovers the truth of her family's role in the social strata, she rightly questions the social, political, and economic powers in play.

One thing that I really liked about this book is that Clara doesn't turn into some kind of superhero that would be inconsistent with the time and place. She does recognize the limitations placed on her because of her sex and class, but she does work within them as she can. The whole Christian element of the book (it is published by Bethany House) was kind of a distraction in my opinion. The religious thread just didn't seem to work it's way evenly through the book, so when it did, infrequently, come up it felt a little awkward to me. Although the book was somewhat predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed Clara's journey--especially the romance and historical elements. Recommended.

Also reviewed by: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews ~ My Friend Amy ~ Becky's Book Reviews ~ Your link here?

Book 61 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge, Book 19 of 25 for the Support Your Local Library Challenge, Book 38 of 50 for the New Author Challenge

Source: Library


Amy said...

I agree with you that the Christian element felt a bit placed. I did love this book, though.

bermudaonion said...

The time period sounds interesting, so this looks like a good one.

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Thanks for the link love. I really liked this one.