09. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Teen Books, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

Cinders and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed, 400 pages, read by Courtney, on 03/29/2013

Lady Ava Averley, her sister and father are all finally returning to England after living in India for years. While Ava looks forward to seeing her beloved Somerton again, she is worried about reentering society in the aftermath of a rumored scandal involving their father. Ava doesn’t believe the rumors, but is beginning to realize that life in society may not be the right thing for her, in spite of the fact that her season is about to begin. It’s time for her to find a respectable husband. Unfortunately, marriage conflicts with her true wishes. She has dreams of going to Oxford to study and is starting to fall head over heels for a young Indian man who is also on his way to England.
Rose Cliffe has been working for the Averley family for as long as she can remember. Her mother has always been in the employ of the family and Rose was brought up within Somerton’s walls. As a child, she had played with Ava and her sister, but now worries whether societal strictures will prevent them from being friends. Rose is a diligent employee, yet still has to fight the desire to “rise above” her place.
Things are complicated enough with the family returning after such a long absence, but an announcement arrives just days before the family is due to return: Sir Averley is getting remarried to a wealthy widowed socialite. A socialite whose daughter is also set to come out to society and is none too happy to have Ava around.
Here’s a novel for those who couldn’t get enough of Downton Abbey or the Luxe series by Anna Godberson. The setting is very, very similar to that of Downton Abbey and the machinations of some of the characters are reminiscent of those in the Luxe books. Love, politics, manners and wealth collide in this society drama. It’s not nearly as addictive or memorable as either of the afore-mentioned series, but it’s an entertaining, if predictable, romp all the same

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