I finished this over a week ago and am only just now getting around to writing about it, so I hope I remember enough of the things I wanted to say! Well, first of all, here’s a testament to how juicy this nice fat YA historical is–I was in the midst of reading The Three Junes by Julia Glass for my book club, and only up to the second June, and I picked this up and got completely distracted and had to read this instead. Let’s start with the cover since that’s what you see first–gorgeous. A girl in a pale pink silk gown that is just yards and yards and yards of fabric.
This is the story of the super wealthy Dutch families of Manhattan-the ones with the 56 room cottages in Newport and the mansions on 5th avenue. The actual plot is quite simple-girl must marry boy she doesn’t want to, he is also being forced to marry by his politically minded father, she loves someone out of her class, her bitchy best friend wants the boy she is engaged to, and all of society is watching their every move.
Most of the historical romances I read (practically all, in fact) take place in England, so it was really interesting to read a story set in a more familiar place. I loved all the details. And being in 1899 I found it so fascinating to read about places in New York that still exist-Tiffany, Lord & Taylor, mansions on 5th Ave, etc. Penelope was such a dreadful bitch! I felt the only real indication we had that Elizabeth had some personality was that Will loved her, so she must have had a side to her that was a little more warm.
I found their wealth fairly astonishing, particulalry when it was pointed out that Elizabeth’s engagment ring cost the equivalent of two maids salary for ten years. I thought her mother’s insistence on Henry was a bit awful because if Elizabeth is such a catch, surely she could find another incredibly wealthy person to marry before word got out about her financial situation??