A formal dinner in palatial, Gilded Age Newport stuns Val DeVere when her closest friend whispers a terrifying rumor. The friend’s ultra-rich auntie’s fatal heart attack at Mrs. Astor’s annual ball last winter was murder.
When the aunt’s reclusive daughter—and heir—succumbs to “heart failure,” Val and husband Roddy probe the deaths to shield their dear friend who is next in line to inherit the family fortune—and sudden death.
Society’s “odd couple,” Val and Roddy, a.k.a. Valentine and Roderick DeVere, blend his Old New York savvy and her mountain West vision to ask: Is Newport truly Society’s “place to take root in,” or a dear friend’s place to die?
I received this book from the author for free. All comments and opinions are entirely my own and this review is voluntary.
This is the first book I’ve read that was written in the first person. That being said, it was hard, at first, to get used to. With any book, written in any tense, I prefer more conversation to constant non-important details. Tell me where they are, what it looks like, but I don’t need to know exactly how many buttons are on a gentleman’s suit jacket (not that the writer did this, I’m just using it as an example). I do enjoy meeting the surrounding characters and learning what they’re wearing and such. However, I feel like the beginning of this book was very slow and a vomiting of details confused me more than excited me about the “Gilded Age”. I read a few pages to my sister (we do this with each other occasionally and really enjoy it) and asked if she felt the same way, and she did. That being said, I had to force myself to go back to this book to finish it. That is until about halfway through the story. There was more conversation and more of the “mystery” was brought into play. I did enjoy that part and I genuinely wanted to know who was the killer. In a few scenes, I even sat forward and exclaimed “oh no” aloud at the bakery I was reading at. I did expect more of a bang for the ending. I suppose for this time era and all the “proper” ways in which The 400 conduct themselves, even with a killer in their midst, it went the way it “should have”.
I enjoyed Val and her feelings about proper society. I haven’t read that many books with the main character already married, and being one half of a newly married couple, that was fun (married life within The 400 was certainly different than it is now, of course).
Overall I’d give this book 4 stars because the writer truly did so much research and took a lot of time and care to write with such detail about this era, and through her work, you know she loves it.