Thursday, March 25, 2010

She Walks In Beauty

I took a break from what seems to have been a constant diet of WWII and middle reader novels to imbibe of the "Gilded Age" (which I previously referred to as "whatever that is"). I couldn't help it, I quite literally quit reading Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday (which is a rather hilarious middle reader/YA) in the middle of the book (which I DON'T do...if I like the book, that is) because Siri Mitchell's latest stunner, She Walks in Beauty, arrived in my mailbox. I allowed myself to glance in its direction and let my fingers twitch for, oh, a good four or five hours before I allowed myself the pure and unmitigated joy of Starting A New Siri.

Mercy me, she just gets better and better.

I am a mother of four. That requires a good eight hours of sleep (preferably eight uninterrupted, but that NEVER happens) and another good 14 hours of running errands and entertaining children each and every day. I got the book Tuesday. I finished it last night. Late. Very late. (So much for the eight hours of sleep.) But can you just picture me huddled in a darkening bedroom, behind my bed, trying to sneak in a chapter? Standing at the stove uh-huhing the incessant chatter, stirring frying okra (ah, the smell of summer), with a book held just off to the left?

I couldn't help it. I'm terrible. Which is why it's a good thing Siri only writes a book a year or so.

The back cover reads: During New York City's Gilded Age...The GAME is played amid banquets and balls. The  PRIZE is a lifetime of wealth and privilege. The RULES will test friendships and the desires of a young woman's heart. Clara Carter is the social season's brightest star...but at what cost?

Which tells you nearly NOTHING. Just the way I like it. Clara is debuting, her family wants her to find a husband. One in particular. For some unknown reason except "duty" and "restoring the family name." But, as Siri does, this isn't just another flighty debutante in search of riches. She's a deep thinker, resistant to her debut, wanting something more. Siri writes strong female characters. Even in time periods when "strong" and "females" were oxymoronic. And you just want her heroines to win at whatever they must face.

Which is why I was up w-a-y past my bedtime for some resolution last night.

It was worth it.

By the way, The Gilded Age was, apparently, in the late 1800s. I apologize for being so spectacularly unknowing of this trivia fact. 

(Siri also writes (or wrote) chick-lit and women's fiction, which is where I discovered her. So if you're not so much into historicals, you might like to seek out Kissing Adrien, Chateau of Echoes, The Cubicle Next Door, or Something Beyond the Sky. (And AACK! Moon Over Tokyo (which I have NOT READ and DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT...must go order...) In addition to Love's Pursuit, and A Constant Heart, Search for Siri Mitchell.)

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