REVIEW: Cinders and Sapphires

16 Jan

I finished my first book from NetGalley.com today and have to say I enjoyed the experience. I’m usually not a fan of reading electronically but this might be what pushes me over into the world of the Kindle.

The Book was “Cinders and Sapphires” – a young adult novel that should leave fans of Austen or Downtown Abbey asking for more. Here’s what the publisher has to say on this book:

One house, two worlds…

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.

The first book I'm reviewing on Netgalley!

The first book I’m reviewing on Netgalley!

The 13 chapter preview was certainly not enough – and leaves you hanging in the most awkward of places. Whew! Where to begin on this one.

Having just gotten though a handful of Austen novels, I can see the influence upon this writer. Think of this as a cross between Pride and Prejudice, Upstairs Downstairs, and a bit of Downtown Abbey thrown in for good measure. Meaning if you love vintage pieces, with lots of characters from varying levels of society, you’ll enjoy this one.

The story moves quickly, starting in the servant’s quarters and branching out until there isn’t a member of the household left untouched. You’ve got romance, a bit of intrigue, some definite factions forming, and alliances in all kinds of places. And secrets – don’t forget the secrets.

My only complaint is in trying to keep everyone straight. I felt a little like I needed a scorecard, or at the least some kind of chart to show the intricate maze of connections and how everyone is related. Though I think if I’d kept going, that might have cleared out a bit (much like in Game of Thrones – so readers of THOSE books who also like historical romance might also enjoy this book for that reason).

I’m hooked, and have no problem with recommending this book. I’ll be looking for this one and whatever comes next in the series. It’s an interesting premise and I can’t wait to see how it all resolves.

Onward to the next title!

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