Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history.
Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: for all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe’s fateful summer interrupts this delicate détente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel’s shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own.
As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet’s story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad . . . and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future––and the love––she wants most.
I love the way Ms. Williams wrote this story; I think she has a knack for writing novels that will catch a reader’s attention within the first paragraph. I really loved reading this book and was a little sad to see it end. I loved the characters “Vivian” and “Violet,” I felt like I could see myself a little bit in both of them and their particular situations. I also like the time frame that this story was taking place in.
I felt like the chapters where “Violet” was a main character was pretty suspenseful and couldn’t wait to get to the next page just to see what would happen next. The chapters where “Vivian” was the main character I was quite curious to see what choices she would make concerning her life and her career. I didn’t really like “Violet’s” husband “Lionel”; I couldn’t stand him and the way he treated her. I understand why Ms. Williams made him that way though because how else would “Violet” have become such a strong character and be able to have secrets that would be hidden still for 50 years before “Vivian” would uncover them. I really enjoyed this story and this author; I give this book and Ms. Williams an “A+.”
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Tiffany