Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "She Walks in Beauty"

She Walks in Beauty
By Siri Mitchell
Copyright 2010
Bethany House Publishers
Adult Fiction

Although I've always been a fan of historical fiction, I picked up this book not so much for the content but because the title comes from one of my very, very favorite poems ever (yes, I have a secret crush on Lord Byron). 

This is the story of Clara Carter's entry into the social world in turn-of-the-century New York City.  Clara is a smart girl, not interested in the balls, the parties, the afternoons "in".  Instead, she dreams of going to college and making a difference in the world, but her father and aunt have different plans.  So Clara is thrust into the thick of things and is soon paraded in front of various potential suitors.  However, her guardians have made her very aware that only one particular suitor will do. 

Clara resigns herself to her lot in life and actually seems to start enjoying the dancing and dressing up.  Frankly, I was disappointed in her character for not fighting the societal expectations more than she did, but what do I know about what life was like in 1891.  Still, I would have liked her to have a little more spunk.  In the end, she does become a little stronger of a person and does some good. 

Not sure there's much else to say about the plot on this one.  It's a nice little love story with a few entanglements thrown in: a best friend who is trying to woo the same guy, a father who is involved in scandal, etc.  While it was quite an enjoyable read, there were a few details that were disturbing.  Some to do with the practice of corsetting.  Who knew how absolutely awful THAT was!  I will never be jealous of a woman with an 18-inch waist again.

I recommend this if you like Jane Austen or the Brontes.  It's similar in tone and topic.  Not too deep though. 

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