Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Review - A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams

Book Synopsis
The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers brings the roaring twenties brilliantly to life in an enchanting and compulsively readable tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal in New York society.

As the hedonism of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, an aviator and a hero of the Great War.

Though the battle-scarred Octavian is devoted to his dazzling socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her, Theresa resists. The old world is crumbling, but divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing remains a high-stakes affair. And there is no need: she shares a gentle understanding with Sylvo, the well-bred philanderer to whom she’s already married.

That is, until Theresa’s impecunious bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with Miss Sophie Fortescue, the naïve young daughter of a wealthy inventor. Theresa enlists Octavian to check into the background of the reclusive Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the charming ingénue, even as he uncovers a devastating family secret.

As a fateful triangle forms, loyalties divide and old crimes are dragged into daylight, drawing Octavian into transgression . . . and Theresa into the jaws of a bittersweet choice.

Full of the glamour, wit, and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’s fiction, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.
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My Review
I know it is wrong to judge a book by a cover, and I try really hard not to ... but I have to admit that I knew I would love this book just from the cover art.  It features a 1920's flapper against the background of glittering New York.   Thankfully, my instincts were right;  I absolutely loved A Certain Age.

The novel centers around Theresa, a 40ish woman, her young lover Octavian, and the very young woman, Sophie, that Theresa's brother becomes engaged to.  There is a romantic triangle and a mystery in this story that is told from different viewpoints (Theresa and Sophie).

The chapters begin with little quotes about men and women from Helen Rowland.  I looked her up and found she wrote a New York World column called Reflections of a Bachelor Girl.

I loved this book, absolutely loved it, and found myself reading slowly because I didn't want it to end  The 1920's setting was fascinating.  I loved the period details and the glimpses of Jazz Age life in New York. 

The characters were equally compelling.  I found myself pulling for all three of the leads - Theresa, Octavian ("The Boy"), and Sophie.  I loved the way the perspective changed back and forth with alternating chapters.   

I found the decades old mystery interesting, and was curious to see how it would play out.

I've heard of Beatriz Williams' books for ages and now I want to read the others, too.  A Certain Age is easily one of my favorites of the year so far, and I cannot recommend it highly enough for fans of historical fiction, the Roaring '20's, and great storytelling.  Five stars!

Author Bio
A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz Williams spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons, before her career as a writer took off. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore.

Find out more about Beatriz at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.   

1 comment:

trish said...

Sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover! I'm so glad you loved it!

Thank you for being on this tour!