Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies’ maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can’t help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada.
For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada’s beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family’s honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name—but it would mean giving up her one true love . . . someone she could never persuade her father to accept.
Sumptuous and enticing, the first novel in the At Somerton series introduces two worlds, utterly different yet entangled, where ruthless ambition, forbidden attraction, and unspoken dreams are hidden behind dutiful smiles and glittering jewels. All those secrets are waiting . . . at Somerton.
This book is so convoluted that I doubt a single book review will do it justice. Fans of Gossip Girl, get ready, this novel is for you. Cinders & Sapphires is told from the different characters’ perspectives. Each character has some scandal that they are trying to keep secret. These range from Ada’s clandestine romance with Ravi, an Indian boy she met on the return trip to England from India, to Sebastian’s relationship with a valet and subsequent blackmailing by the valet to Georgiana’s crush on her stepbrother Michael, who is actually crushing on a maid. These people lead ridiculous lives. The only semi-tame scandal is that of Rose, a maid who is actually the daughter of Ada’s father. All this considered, however, Cinders & Sapphires was surprisingly historical.
Women’s issues, the pros and cons of British imperialism, class and society issues, and the stirrings of WWI are covered. Each topic ties-in with at least one character’s struggles. Ada wants to study at Oxford, Rose hopes to be a composer, and Ravi is unsatisfied with British rule of India. Overall, I think Cinders & Sapphires, while too crazy for me, would be liked by teen girls hungry for drama. How Leila Rasheed thought of all this insanity and then kept it straight is impressive. Those that desire illicit affairs spiced by historical happenings are in for a treat.
3 1/2 Stars
*Reviewed by Kristin*
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