Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review: She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Category: Christian Fiction

She Walks in Beauty is a compelling story about a young women living in a socially-driven world. Although she loves books and dreams of going to Vasser College, her distant father, and rigorous aunt will having nothing to do with it. Clara must do as she is told. Clara’s mother passed away years ago, and now Clara is at the mercy of her aunt. She is dreading her social debut but it’s about to come a year sooner and it is mere weeks away when news that the towns wealthiest heir is to marry this year. Clare’s governess and best friend is fired when it appears that Clare is too far behind in her social education. Clare is soon tight-laced into a corset, and thrown into the social circle. When the town newspaper notices Clare, her aunt seems encouraged to push her further. Clare becomes the belle of the season, and Franklin begins to take notice. Clare is delighted but Franklin seems like a bore, his younger jocular brother on the other hand has Clare’s attention. Her best friend Lizzie has also been told that she must snag Franklin. Lizzie and Clare vow to keep their friendship intact despite the scheme’s of their family.
Siri Mitchell exposes the upper-class society that was consumed with wealth and status. Happiness and love were never to take precedence. I really enjoyed this book, I didn’t want to put it down and was intrigued from the very beginning. Although, it sounds like an unchallenging read it was truly fascinating to read about the social hierarchies of the 1890s. Clare’s aunt seems despicable to being with, but as the novel progresses she voices her reasons. I really began to understand where she was coming from. Clare’s father on the other hand, has many indiscretions and secrets that are disclosed. Clare is an endearing heroine, one that you will immediately want to protect. Readers can sense her fear, confusion and shock when she is able to rise to the occasion. She has the weight of the world on her shoulders, and an aunt and father who have high expectations. While Clare is consumed with the social world, her mind is still reeling about the impoverish people and injustices she’s read about. While many deem the book preposterous, Clara can’t help but wonder if it’s true. Clara matures from a young girl who questions nothing to a strong woman who questions everything. The christian element is very light, and not preachy. While this book is categorized as Christian it is much more historical. A great read!

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