She Walks in Beauty
Source: Free Sony Store ebook.
Book Description from Publisher:
For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work--there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect.
Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling. Yet Clara wonders if this is the life she really wants, especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is, and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her heart at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.
She Walks in Beauty is a historical romance set in 1891 in New York City. The story was rich with historical detail, especially about the social season and fashions. The author focused on the extreme of tight-lacing corsets for waist-size reduction (and so readers might develop wrong ideas about their normal usage--corsets were the "bras" of the time).
The characters were engaging and acted realistically. I liked what Clara learned about romance. It wasn't a typical "oh, he makes my heart beat wildly! I must love him..." romance novel.
A point was made about Clara receiving an education in math and science instead of social graces and how she wanted to go college, so I was surprised that desire was never brought up again later. The suspense in the story was mainly seeing if Clara would make good choices despite the pressure she was under and if she'd end up with the man best suited to her.
After being convinced by her aunt that no one will like her unless she tortures herself to become the current notion of beautiful, Clara longs for someone to love her just as she is--too tall, big lips, and without a 18 inch waist. She remembers a hymn from church, "Just As I Am," and as the story progresses she comes to realize that God loves her just as she is.
There were no sex scenes. There was a very minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and engaging novel.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.