I love M.J. Rose and everything she writes, but this year’s CARTIER’S HOPE was an interesting departure for her in some ways.
A socialite living a secret double life as a reporter, diving into the disparate economic realities of the Gilded Age, confronts the many social issues of the day—the dire living conditions and roiling social discontent of New York’s tenement poor; the Suffrage movement and the flaring frustration of working women; virulent sexism and anti-Semitism; and the threat to expose a homosexual love affair that was so frightening it led to suicide.
And yet, despite the many problematic issues and events the characters face in the book, the overall tone is uplifting and hopeful, and the story is highly entertaining. There’s romance, criminal hijinx, some awful characters doing awful things who meet their commeuppance; some awesome characters doing some questionable things that turn out to be retribution for past injustices; and in the middle of it all is the Cartier jewelry store and its dramatic, charismatic owner, who plays a variety of roles that ultimately help the good guys win and the bad guys suffer.
Rose brings her outstanding capacity for description to every detail of this book, so the nitty is gritty and the beauty is breathtaking, and she races us along a deep, twisty plot that keeps us entertained and intrigued, even as we’re taking in the complexity of the times and the valiant efforts of the people.
Another rich, vibrant effort from this exceptional author. (And doesn’t she have the most gorgeous covers?!)
Looking forward to her next title, THE LAST TIARA (@Amazon) – it sounds fascinating! (I love almost anything with a Romanov theme.)
New York, 1910: A city of extravagant balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and poor immigrants crammed into crumbling Lower East Side tenements. A city where the suffrage movement is growing stronger every day, but most women reporters are still delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages. But Vera Garland is set on making her mark in a man’s world of serious journalism.
Shortly after the world-famous Hope Diamond is acquired for a record sum, Vera begins investigating rumors about schemes by its new owner, jeweler Pierre Cartier, to manipulate its value. Vera is determined to find the truth behind the notorious diamond and its legendary curses—even better when the expose puts her in the same orbit as a magazine publisher whose blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father.
Appealing to a young Russian jeweler for help, Vera is unprepared when she begins falling in love with him…and even more unprepared when she gets caught up in his deceptions and finds herself at risk of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve.
Set against the backdrop of New York’s glitter and grit, of ruthless men and the atrocities they commit in the pursuit of power, this enthralling historical novel explores our very human needs for love, retribution—and to pursue one’s destiny, regardless of the cost.
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)
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