September 5, 2016
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With a hurricane threatening for the weekend, I jumped to the library and stocked up. A Certain Age (A) by Beatriz Williams kept me completely unaware of the weather. It was that good!!!!!
Based on Richard Strauss’s opera Der Rosenkavalier, Williams sets her story against the backdrop of the roaring twenties, prohibition and post war trauma. Mrs. Theresa Marshall from Fifth Avenue and Southampton begins an affair with a very young man, Octavian. He’s just returned from the war and is lost and searching for something, Theresa is that something.
At the same time, Sophie Fortescue gets engaged to Theresa’s brother through a “cavalier”. Can you guess who that was???? Octavian. Pretty predictably the story continues with a rivalry for the affections of Octavian.
What sets this apart from other historical fiction love stories is that the book opens with the reporting of a murder trail. The person on trail for murder is Sophie’s father. He is accused of murdering her mother. The author very craftily tells her story by delivering the events that led up to the trail. Nothing and no one is as they appear. The story becomes very compelling, drawing the reader right in and keeping you there until the last page.
Thankfully our hurricane was a non-event and the weather provided us with a lovely weekend one that I used to devour this exceptional book. It’s definitely an “all weather” read 🙂
June 7, 2016
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I don’t ever remember reading a book that had several authors. The Forgotten Room (B) is one such book with three authors, Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig. From what I gather, three close friends who are authors in their own right, decided to pen a novel together. One would write, pass it along to the next who would add to it and then pass it on to the third. Good news, it worked!!!!
In 1944, the “Pratt” mansion is being used as a hospital for soldiers returning from the war. Here, Dr. Kate Schulyer introduces us to the “latest” Mr. Ravenel. The room that he is a patient in has many secrets to tell beginning in 1892 with Olive and later with Lucy in 1920.
Bit by bit, the story unfolds as Olive relates her involvement with Harry Pratt. Their story leads us to Lucy who is looking for her “real” father believing it might be Harry Pratt. While Kate, too, is intimately connected to the Pratt family.
The story is well told. The characters become woven together into one cohesive story but not before everyone’s secrets are revealed. I truly enjoyed The Forgotten Room but often was a bit confused. Alternating the narrative from woman to woman was complicated. At one point, I even considered taking notes !!!! Perhaps I was trying to hard to anticipate who belonged to whom.
I would encourage the reader not to become discouraged. It is definitely worth reading and the conclusion clarifies any confusion. The authors pulled it off in a really good way. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy J