Info: Hardback, 448 pages, Young Adult/Historical Fiction, published January 23, 2014
Synopsis: 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?
Why I Chose This Book: I’ve been in a reading rut for a while, and while I was going to read some of the easy contemporary romances on my TBR, this book kept drawing my eye. Finally, I picked it up and read it. I got it for Christmas this last year, and I could have sworn it’s been out forever. But only a little over a year!
First Impressions: I love this cover! Gorgeous. Doesn’t really have to do much with the story, though. Since Vicky’s an artist, I think the cover could have really drawn (ha!) from that to make something other than a Girl in a Big Dress cover. But I’m still a sucker for those, and I’m loving yellow right now.
What I Liked: Um. Everything? This was amazing! Strong feminist message out of its time, a romance, and a girl that won’t give up on her dreams for anything. Yes, please! Plus, I loved that Will not only supported her, but encouraged her. That’s how you date an independent woman, people!
What I Didn’t Like: At first, I didn’t like the love triangle. I thought it was unnecessary. But then I realized the point of it and I was a lot happier.
Ratings and Recommendations: For fans of The Luxe series, The Jewel, historical fiction set in the early 1900’s.
Final Thoughts: This is definitely a book that belongs on those ‘books for your daughter to read before she reads Twilight’ lists. It’s so strong, and Vicky really shows how to go after what you want when everything is pitted against you.