As the 19th century comes to a close, the illustrious Vanderbilt family dominates Newport, Rhode Island, high society. But when murder darkens a glittering affair at the Vanderbilt summer home, reporter Emma Cross learns that sometimes the actions of the cream of society can curdle one's blood....
Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895: She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, 21-year-old Emma Cross is on the guest list for a grand ball at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts' summer home. She also has a job to do - report on the event for the society page of the Newport Observer.
But Emma observes much more than glitz and gaiety when she witnesses a murder. The victim is Cornelius Vanderbilt's financial secretary, who plunges off a balcony faster than falling stock prices. Emma's black sheep brother, Brady, is found in Cornelius's bedroom passed out next to a bottle of bourbon and stolen plans for a new railroad line. Brady has barely come to before the police have arrested him for the murder. But Emma is sure someone is trying to railroad her brother and resolves to find the real killer at any cost....
©2014 Alyssa Maxwell (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I know that this book is not meant to be Serious Literature, and I was searching for something casual and easy when I purchased it, but...
Did Alyssa Maxwell do any research when she wrote this book? It reads more like a guidebook (for children) to Newport than historical fiction. The author's perspective seems an attempt at describing the past from a present (tourist) point-of-view instead of historical fiction written with integrity, which at its best should pull a reader into a time and place so that it almost feels lived. And appropriate linguistic details are lacking: I am sure, for example, that no heroine--spunky though she may have been--would have said "Oops" in Gilded-Age-Newport.
Eva Kaminsky's narration takes this experience from bad to worse: her always-slightly-ironic-and-smug voice makes the characters sound like millenials (but not even real ones--just the kind of stereotypical millenial the media love to lambast).
I am returning this book so that I can use my credit more wisely.
This book keeps you guessing until the last page. Alyssa Maxwell's way with words shine and makes up for the not so great narration. I can honestly say this was the BEST story I have "read" in a long time. I will surely keep an eye out for this authors work.
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