Date Completed: 1/6/2017
Prepare yourself for a wild ride through both the 20’s and romance. Basically every form of a relationship that could possibly exist is explored or trampled through in this novel.
Williams begins the story with a newspaper article, and she intersperses more articles throughout the story. A little foreshadowing, if you will. However, the scene soon cuts to Mrs. Marshall and her Boy, lounging in bed and conversing. Readers soon uncover that he is, in fact, her lover. From there the endless myriad of relationships unfolds as we meet the Fortescues, a new and upcoming family, Mrs. Marshall’s brother, her husband, and a few other lesser characters.
While I found this book very dramatic and highly entertaining, full of suspense yet somewhat predictable, it’s also a light read. Basically, what you see is what you get with this book. There were only occasional hints at feminism with some discussion around what it means to be a woman in the 1920’s, but it seems this book is more to do with drama than anything else. Which is totally fine, I do love a good basic drama from time to time. Just be aware it’s a bit basic.
I loved the excitement caused by the unfolding story of the trial. As I mentioned, the novel opens up with a newspaper article about a trial. As it’s the first thing we read, readers are not really sure what it has to do with the story. I noticed off the bat that the article highlights Mrs. Marshall and her Boy, Octavian Rofrano, and as the next chapter presented their relationship I presumed they would be the main feature of the novel. I was not wrong, but I was also not entirely right as Williams proceeded to delve into other characters.
Theresa’s character development surprised me immensely. She begins the story as a seductive mistress, enthralling and entrancing. I saw her primarily as a mode of intrigue for readers. However, readers learn how sad her life seems to be, or at least how sad she feels in her life, and take pity on her. Then readers see her holding back others in her life, orchestrating them as though they were a mere symphony and not complex individuals, and believe her to be frigid and controlling. A character this complex is sure to surprise given time and the course of a tragedy.
In the end, I was surprised to find I wasn’t quite sure where all the characters ended up. I’m almost pleased that I don’t know the ending to their lives, as I feel like I fell into the story the same way that the author kicked me out of it. The beginning and the ending are cohesive, if not exactly expected.
About Beatriz Williams
A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz Williams spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons, before her career as a writer took off. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore.
I received this book from TLC book tours in exchange for an honest review.