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Book Review: She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell

Link for the book @ Publisher--Bethany House:
http://www.bethanyhouse.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid=0477683E4046471488BD7BAC8DCFB004&nm=&type=PubCom&mod=PubComProductCatalog&mid=BF1316AF9E334B7BA1C33CB61CF48A4E&tier=3&id=059AF71781E14D289D82FE8B7165EB73
Paperback $14.99

Link for the book @ Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/She-Walks-Beauty-Siri-Mitchell/dp/0764204335/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1287504052&sr=8-1
Paperback $10.19
Kindle $9.68

Link for the book @ Christian Book:
http://www.christianbook.com/she-walks-in-beauty/siri-mitchell/9780764204333/pd/204333?item_code=WW&netp_id=639685&event=ESRCN&view=details
Paperback $9.99
eBook $9.69

Published by Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing, 2010, 400 pages
Christian Fiction/Gilded Age/New York/Society and Social Customs/Débutante

This book was provided to me for free from Bethany House because I am a member of their An Open Book (I am in charge of my churches Book Club group).



Miss Clara Carter the only child of physician Dr. Willard Carter live on 5th Avenue in New York City. The year is 1891. Recently Dr. Carter's sister, a widow, Mrs. Lewis Stuart has come to live with them. Shortly after arriving Clara's aunt begins to assertively make life altering changes on behalf of Clara's "mission".

Débutante--usually a wealthy young woman making her social debut. 



At 17 Miss Clara Carter is a débutante and along with her best friend Lizzie, they are each competing for the same man from a distinguished and wealthy family in New York City. In the beginning it is a game, laughable at times, trying at other times. Yet, during this débutante season, Clara matures not only in her physical body but in her mind and her emotions. She wants to exert her opinions; but is stifled and imprisoned by the society cultures of the gilded age. Women are not independent of men, it is rare for a woman to be able to make her own choices, including whom she will marry.

I thought this was an enjoyable read! There were times when because of my own independent 21st Century mentality, I was exasperated by Clara's "doormat" existence. After reading this novel I now understand better  what women went through in not having a voice. They were told what to do and when to do it and how to do it. Restrictions and dominance from men and society were the norm, they did not know any differently.
Clara is a sweet and likable character, and I feel was exact for representation of a 17 year old young woman.
I was appalled at Clara's father and aunt. I felt they were lacking in empathy and love for Clara. They often remarked that this was all for her! Yet it was honestly about them!
Lizzie, Clara's best friend is not a large character in the book, her character could have been given more depth, but then that would have made for a longer book.
One of my favorite movies is Gosford Park---a murder mystery; but also a great story of the behind the scenes life of the wealthy, from the views of the servants that do all of the work so that the wealthy can literally play. I mention that because I would love to have known what was going on in the minds and secret conversations in the household servants of the Carter's.
Clara's days are filled with adhering to the social etiquette standards of the Gilded Age. She goes out to the opera, restaurants, teas, parties, balls. Every move that she makes is planned and executed with the one goal of becoming engaged at the end of the season.

Blissful Reading!
Annette

Comments

Ooohhh...I love Gosford Park, too. What a fun movie and one I enjoyed guessing my way through. So it sounds like a book I would enjoy.