She Walks in Beauty: Book Review

During New York City’s Gilded Age…
The game is played amid banquets and balls.
The prize is a lifetime of wealth and privilege.
The rules will test friendships and
the desires of a young woman’s heart.
Clara Carter is the social season’s brightest star…
but at what cost?
For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city’s most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work–there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity’s spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling.

Yet Clara soon wonders if this is the life she really wants. Especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it’s not just her marriage at stake–the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

Siri Mitchell is the author of nearly a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in business, she has worked in many different levels of government. As military spouse, she has lived in places as varied as Tokyo and Paris. Siri currently lives in the DC-metro area. Visit www.sirimitchell.com
My Review:
I love this kind of book!  I’m pretty much a sucker for anything set in New York City during the Gilded Age;-)  When I read books like this, I’m constantly amazed at the importance placed on appearances. Wearing the right dress, saying the right things, using the right fork… All in an effort to secure the most eligible, and preferably the wealthiest bachelor. Being true to yourself was not an option. Finding love just as you are? Also not an option. Clara, the books protagonist, was taught that she was not good enough as she was, she was flawed and no one could love her just as she is. She learned to walk, talk, dress, act and even eat as she was expected to, all so that she would be accepted into society and marry the heir. Even though we live in completely different times, I wonder how different we really are from this. How often do we walk, talk, dress, act and even eat a certain way just in an effort to gain approval from others? The theme to this book was “Just as I am” I like that it was subtly weaved throughout the story without feeling forced.  It gently reminded me that God accepts and loves us “Just as we are” We don’t have to clean ourselves up  to come to him. This story reminds us that we can be loved, just as we are.
        Just as I am, without one plea,
	but that thy blood was shed for me,
	and that thou bidst me come to thee,
	O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

*This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishing.

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