Release Date: January 22, 2013.
One house, two worlds...
Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies’ maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can’t help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada.
For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada’s beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family’s honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name—but it would mean giving up her one true love . . . someone she could never persuade her father to accept.
Sumptuous and enticing, the first novel in the At Somerton series introduces two worlds, utterly different yet entangled, where ruthless ambition, forbidden attraction, and unspoken dreams are hidden behind dutiful smiles and glittering jewels. All those secrets are waiting . . . at Somerton.
Historical YA and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. It's mostly hate because I've only ever found one that I absolutely loved (Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl) but I can happily add Cinders & Sapphires as the second book to this list because I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. At all.
Fifty pages in, I worried that the story wouldn't really pick up at all but it's like the book read my mind because after that .. CRAZINESS. When all of the other characters and subplots were introduced, I wasn't really sure about them because I was so engrossed in Ada and Rose's stories but at one point I had to calm myself down because I was flipping pages like WAIT WHAT DID HE JUST DO or WAIT WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY or WAIT WHAT ABOUT THEM?! I'm definitely an action kind of reader but the drama in this book was as equally as thrilling and exciting as any epic action scene would be.
Also - despite them being 100% human - I found Charlotte, Fiona and Stella to be some of the most despicable villains I've ever read just based on their attitudes and personalities. Unless they've got dangerous powers or something supernatural of the story, I find it hard for villains to get under my skin but these three ... oh man. All I wanted to do was stick my foot through the pages and kick them all in the face.
And one thing I loved a lot was that among all of the insane drama, the author still managed to capture the gorgeous time period and culture without taking away from the real story. The descriptions of the clothing and buildings and even the mention of revolutionary things that were just being introduced back then - like cars - kind of transported me back in time and it made for SUCH an awesome reading experience.
Overall, I can't recommend Cinders & Sapphires enough. I loved this book so much. From the characters to the culture to the stories ... everything is so enthralling and engrossing and I never wanted to set it down. If you're picky about historical like I am, PLEASE give this one a try!
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