Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Julie's Review: The Secret Life of Violet Grant

 photo VioletGrant_zps9517b6b1.jpg

Author: Beatriz Williams
Series: None
Publication Date:May 27, 2014
Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 448
Obtained: Author
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Loved it. Had so many layers and something for everyone!
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Passion, redemption, and a battered suitcase full of secrets: the New York Times-bestselling author of A Hundred Summers returns with another engrossing tale. 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 Madison Avenue 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 passioned 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. Grants magnetic former student at the beginning of Europes fateful summer interrupts this delicate détente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husbands perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionels 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 aunts past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violets 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. ~powells.com

Review: The Secret Life of Violet Grant is hands down one of my favorites for 2014. I loved this book. I loved the romance, setting, mystery and feelings this evoked. You can tell that Ms. Williams really has a love for both of these eras.

I loved these characters from Violet, Vivian, Vivian Sr., Pepper, Dr. Paul and Lionel. They were all so well written and interesting. Vivian was electric. She was brash, brave and intelligent. She knew what she wanted and she wasn't afraid to go for it. She is also highly loyal, which breaks your heart on several occasions. I loved her approach to life and she definitely had a great attitude. She was willing to take risks and to kick the standards to the curb.

Violet, on the other hand, was rebelling but was less brash about it. She wanted to be a scientist and that was rebellious enough. She was extremely naive and remained so for most of the novel. She was so trusting and wanted to be liked by her fellow students. She was also extremely lonely, which of course left her wide open to have someone swoop in "rescue" her. Enter Dr. Grant who Violet already admired and swooped in and made her feel safe. Was it forbidden to date her Professor? Absolutely, which is why they keep it quiet. Was Violet in love with him? I'm not sure but she was grateful not to be by herself and to have someone care for her that is for sure. No one wants to be lonely.

What Ms. Williams does a phenomenal job of peeling back the layers of the novel, slowly and methodically. She surprises me multiple times with her deft plot reveals and brilliant character reveals.

You can tell that I have nothing but love for The Secret Life of Violet Grant. It is one where I can't talk in too much detail or I will completely ruin the novel for you. This is the perfect beach, pool, sitting on a park bench novel for summer. It would easily be devoured in a weekend.

Ms. Williams is fast becoming one of my favorite authors and one I recommend to everyone. If you haven't read Overseas or A Hundred Summers, then you are missing out. Run out and get her books, you won't be disappointed.



Beth Hoffman May 20, 2014 at 1:12 PM  

Wow, Julie ... you've hooked me. Fabulous review. This is going on my list right now!

Unknown May 20, 2014 at 10:41 PM  

I'm starting this book tonight! Can't wait. Beatriz Williams is a fabulous author and person, when I met her I was blown away by her kindness!

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) May 23, 2014 at 5:57 PM  

I absolutely loved A Hundred Summers (it was just my kind of beach read) and cannot wait to start this one! I'll be picking it up soon and am so glad to hear you liked it - it looked great to me, but this is the first review I've read.

thecuecard May 26, 2014 at 2:46 PM  

So glad it's 5 stars! I'll pick up a copy. thanks. It sounds like you really loved it. cheers.

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