Title: The Secret Life of Violet Grant
Author: Beatriz Williams
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The year is 1964, and Vivian Schuyler doesn’t care that she’s spurning her wealthy family by pursuing a job—it’s been her dream to work at Metropolitan Magazine for years. When Vivian receives a mysterious suitcase in the mail, one addressed to Violet Schuyler, Vivian stumbles upon a family mystery. Apparently Violet disappeared with her lover on the eve of World War I from Germany after murdering her husband. What is Violet’s true story? Vivian becomes determined to find out, for a feature in the magazine, but more importantly, for herself.
An intriguing novel told in two time periods, The Secret Life of Violet Grant has great characters in both Violet and Vivian and is smart and fun; readers won’t want to put down.
I have a confession: I will read anything Beatriz Williams writes. Her novels aren’t my usual genre; I don’t read a lot of historicals, especially set during this period. But she writes such smart, sharp characters, and can write a love story like no other author, that I always pick up her books. I don’t even bother to find out what they’re about because I know I’ll enjoy them, that they’ll make a perfect summer read.
And The Secret Life of Violet Grant is no exception. Vivian is a great character that readers will absolutely adore. She’s witty, with retort after retort ready for whatever banter might come her way, but she uses humor to deflect her feelings. She can be a great actress, and as a result, those close to her don’t always know when she’s in pain. She chooses to deal with her sadness privately, presenting a carefree and vibrant personality to the outside world. She’s brave and selfless and is just lovely to read about.
Williams presents an intriguing story in The Secret Life of Violet Grant. The circumstances of Violet’s disappearance are scandalous, even by Vivian’s standards. Vivian knows she might be unearthing some old, painful skeletons, but she can’t help but feel a kinship with Violet. She wants the world to know Violet’s story because she believes the dastardly rumors aren’t actually true, that there’s something deeper at the heart of the story. Williams takes the reader on twists and turns with Violet’s life. It’s not a happy story, but it is a gripping one, and Williams tells it well.
I said that Williams’ last novel, A Hundred Summers, was the perfect summer read. Well, now it has to move over because this book is just as much fun and just as satisfying. It’s got depth, heart, wonderful characters, and a sense of place and history. If you haven’t yet tried one of Beatriz Williams’ novels, well, hopefully my gushing will prompt you to seek one out. They aren’t sequels, so it doesn’t matter which you start with, just know that you’ll be immediately hooked and will want more.
Other books by Beatriz Williams: