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Publisher's Summary

Passion, redemption, and a battered old suitcase full of secrets: The New York Times best-selling author of A Hundred Summers returns with another engrossing tale of lost love and female ambition that crosses generations. 

Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: Break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family's past and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history.

Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: For all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant's magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe's fateful summer interrupts this delicate détente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband's perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel's shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own. 

As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt's past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet's story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad...and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future - and the love - she wants most. 

©2014 Beatriz Williams (P)2014 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A riveting tale of murder and adultery.” (US Weekly)

"Another absorbing page-turner filled with romance and secrets…. Violet’s narrative will captivate readers with its intrigue and the protagonist’s struggles…” (Library Journal)

“Williams conjures up another substantive beach read steeped in history and familial intrigue.... Readers will love wallowing in the twists and turns of this irresistibly luxurious tale.” (Booklist)

What listeners say about The Secret Life of Violet Grant

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

USE YOUR CREDIT ON ANOTHER BOOK

The narrator made this book way too dramatic or at least her reading did. Apparently the two main women are SO unresistable....all men have to have sex with them constantly (and they are more than willing) and everyone falls in love immediately....STUPID and quite ad nauseum at times...TOO MUCH!!!

14 people found this helpful

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Great Story

Great story overall and loved the performance. Thought the ending was a little muddled, but still enjoyed it very much!

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Couldn't stop listening!

Would you listen to The Secret Life of Violet Grant again? Why?

Yes. I loved the characters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Vivian - very witty but also kind and sensitive

What does Kathleen McInerney bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Delivery of wit as well emotion. Her delivery of Mr. Grant really painted his true character.

Any additional comments?

I LOVED the addition of Einstein and the history of pre-WWI developments. Also, I might need to re-listen because I missed what Violet spoke to Jane about. How did that play out? My stars are based on the fact that it completely captured me.

9 people found this helpful

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An average read

This book was an interesting enough read, but it was lacking in depth or continuity. It has the feeling of a novel in installments. Okay to pass the time,

5 people found this helpful

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Best book ever!

This is one of the best books I have ever read/listened to. The twists and turns right up to the last five minutes.

3 people found this helpful

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Unnecessarily Creepy

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed the story line itself. But Violet's husband's continual need to call her "child" was distracting. It kept giving the sensation that he was a pervert who liked little kids, when in fact that never was revealed. The first few times he called her "child" wasn't a big deal, but the fact that it never bothered her was irksome. And more so that the term was used over and over and over and over again. I stopped listening several times because I was sick of hearing it.

3 people found this helpful

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Awesome!

Loved it! I also enjoy listening to Kathleen McInerney!! Held my interest, totally. This was around 1914 and I love history. The story line kept me wanting for more! Violet's life was indeed secret until her niece............. : )

A must listen!

3 people found this helpful

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loved the story

Is there anything you would change about this book?

it would have been better if the ending would not have been cut off. I went back to my download to see if that was the problem, but , nope no ending. I really did love the book but darn it!!

2 people found this helpful

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Highly recommend!

Going back and forth between Pre WWl and 1964, this story got better the more I “read” (listened). This is my favorite so far of Beatriz Williams solo and collaborative works. The story was not predictable, and kept me interested throughout.

1 person found this helpful

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Find an excuse for a long drive!

This was a really fun one one to listen to as I drove for two days. Witty and sweet, playful and a little sexy but nothing that would embarrass me if someone needed to jump in the car with me for a bit. Loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Diana
  • 10-07-14

Easy, breezy, and will help pass the time.

Would you listen to The Secret Life of Violet Grant again? Why?

No, I wouldn't listen to it again, only because one listening will give you the whole story, and it's not a story that needs to be revisited.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I would have cut out all the crazy Viv / Dr Paul stuff -- I didn't enjoy the romantic melodrama and don't feel it added anything to the story, or helped the characters grow. I also wasn't particularly fond of the more cliched elements of the story (terrible husband is also incredibly perverted, hanging out with Einstein, completely avoidable love triangle). Otherwise, it was a very enjoyable, not-too-simple story, with some very interesting ideas. It was a pleasurable listen.

What about Kathleen McInerney’s performance did you like?

Her enthusiasm while performing Viv was delightful -- I was always happiest when Kathleen returned to her after Violet.