Stand-alone to date
"Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.
After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?"
This book was one of those ones that you want to love and give five stars because it was really good but then, when you start thinking about it, it just doesn't feel like a five star book. It may seem like a horrible reason, but that's why I rated this 4 stars instead of 5. Onward!
1. The time period. This book takes place during the women's suffrage movement in England and slightly after the same movement in the US. It really centers around that turning point of society where some people are still in the old way and some are adopting the new way with open arms. That dynamic made this book really interesting and different to me. I've never really read about the women's suffrage movement before and I loved seeing Vicky's role in it! I also loved seeing how Vicky struggled to tell herself that she is worth something and is relevant. That's really what the whole book was about - finding worth in yourself. That theme is so, so relevant in today's society and this book couldn't have come at a better time.
2. The two men/love interests. I'm really torn about how I feel about this. The way the story is structured is that there are two sides of Vicky's life: the proper, old side, and the newer, revolutionary side. To go along with that, there are two men that represent those sides of her life and they're her love interests. William is the revolutionary side and Edmund is the reserved side. This turns into a love triangle which isn't the same as all other love triangles but it is still a love triangle. Also, the whole point of this book is finding worth within yourself so I found it really sad that Vicky wasn't just choosing between the two sides of her life, she was choosing between two guys and who she felt was better for her. So maybe that's what prompted the loss of a star.
3. The cover. A quick word about the cover: GORGEOUS! I'm a sucker for pretty dresses on covers and I have to say, the colors all go together so well and the yellow dress is the perfect contrast!
4. The plot. The plot really kept me engrossed until the final page. I read the whole book in one night! I did actually like the ending. Without saying anything spoilery, it really shows how important family is.
The Final Verdict:
This book has such a good setting and plot but the two men as love interests annoyed me a bit. The cover is beautiful though!
“I felt accepted for who I was. I didn't have to sort the words in my head first, making sure they were socially acceptable before I said them. I groped around for a word that fit. Peace. I felt peaceful.”
“Not at all. You look as though magic has taken hold of you. It must be magic because I don't know how you can draw like that. I can barely manage a stick figure.”
“Without any warning, tears filled my eyes. No one had ever given me such a kind and thoughtful gift before. I pictured Will going into the shop, looking over the books, and then discovering the very one he knew I would love. I even pictured him watching as the clerk wrapped the volume in brown paper. I wondered if the clerk had tied the green bow on it or if Will had gone into a notion shop and chosen it himself. These were all small things, but kindness was built of small things.”
“I've decided that I'm going to collect as many spiders in a jar as I can and then pour them all over you, William Flecter. Seeing as how it's good to face your fears.”
“This is why we all fight so hard. Not just for the vote, but for an equal opportunity in the world. A vote is a voice. I think you underestimate yourself, Queenie. This is your fight, same as it is mine.”
“A strange thing, words. Once they're said, it's hard to imagine they're untrue.”
“For opportunity is nothing if you don't grab it by both hands.”