Author: M. J. Rose
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery & Suspense, Romance
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: 2020
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: From M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of Tiffany Blues, “a lush, romantic historical mystery” (Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale), comes a gorgeously wrought novel of ambition and betrayal set in the Gilded Age.
New York, 1910: A city of extravagant balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and poor immigrants crammed into crumbling Lower East Side tenements. A city where the suffrage movement is growing stronger every day, but most women reporters are still delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages. But Vera Garland is set on making her mark in a man’s world of serious journalism.
Shortly after the world-famous Hope Diamond is acquired for a record sum, Vera begins investigating rumors about schemes by its new owner, jeweler Pierre Cartier, to manipulate its value. Vera is determined to find the truth behind the notorious diamond and its legendary curses—even better when the expose puts her in the same orbit as a magazine publisher whose blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father.
Appealing to a young Russian jeweler for help, Vera is unprepared when she begins falling in love with him…and even more unprepared when she gets caught up in his deceptions and finds herself at risk of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve.
Set against the backdrop of New York’s glitter and grit, of ruthless men and the atrocities they commit in the pursuit of power, this enthralling historical novel explores our very human needs for love, retribution—and to pursue one’s destiny, regardless of the cost.
My Review: Vera is a journalist who aspires to be as great as Nellie Bly. Instead of writing fashion articles, Vera longs to write about serious issues and loves to go undercover to find a good story. One day, she chooses to write about The Hope Diamond. The Hope Diamond is not only known for its exquisite beauty but for its deadly curses. Vera has a personal link to The Hope Diamond because it may be connected to her father’s death. She teams up with a Russian jeweler to discover the truth about the diamond.
I found Vera to be an unlikable character. She was mostly a spoiled rich girl that used her privilege to uncover many stories. Vera mostly spends the novel complaining about how hard her circumstances are being a woman. Yet, I found it unbelievable because she was very privileged, and her wealth opened many opportunities for her. Vera is also very quick to judge people and holds needless grudges. Thus, I found her to be very annoying and being in her head really made the book unenjoyable. I think I would have enjoyed this book a little bit better if it had been written in third-person instead of first-person.
Overall, this novel is a romance with a dash of mystery mixed in. The mystery was a bit of a disappointment because it is very predictable. Even though the novel is average length, it seemed like it took forever to end. The plot is simple and slow-moving. It mostly focuses on the instant love story rather than the mystery. The romance was not even well-developed. The romance was very cliche, and the main love interest was the typical arrogant and brooding love interest. All of the characters were stereotypical and given no depth. Since I am a fan of M. J. Rose, I found this the most disappointing book she has written to date. While the premise seemed very interesting, it was not executed well. It was very formulaic with no creativity. I recommend this if you are interested in light cozy mysteries like The Anatomist's Wife, City of Jasmine, and In Farleigh Field. However, if you want to see M. J. Rose’s best writing that weaves romance, mystery, and the paranormal perfectly, I advise you to skip this book and read the Daughters of La Lune trilogy instead.
Rating: 2 ½ out of 5 stars