She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell

1 Jul

For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city’s most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work–there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity’s spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling.

Yet Clara soon wonders if this is the life she really wants. Especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it’s not just her marriage at stake–the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a speaker and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

Her eighth novel, She Walks in Beauty (Apr 2010), has just been released by Bethany House Publishers. It follows, her other Bethany House releases, A Constant Heart (October 2008) and Love’s Pursuit (June 2009). Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. She has been called one of the clearest, most original voices in the CBA.

Q&A about She Walks in Beauty

My Impressions:

Clara Carter is the beautiful daughter of an old New York family destined to regain her family’s fortunes through marriage to the most eligible bachelor of the season.  She Walks in Beauty traces seventeen year old Clara’s debut year, a debut filled with challenges and fears.  Clara just isn’t good enough for her manipulating Aunt and scheming father:  she’s too tall, her mouth is too wide, hands too big and her waist (22 inches) is gargantuan! And Clara begins to believe all those who say she isn’t good enough just as she is, until a suitor reminds her that God believes she is perfect.

She Walks in Beauty presents an eye-opening look into the world of late Victorian America.  This was a time when celebrities were created by the newspapers; a time when great lengths were taken to achieve what society deemed was beauty.  A time not so different from our own. Women of the era achieved hourglass figures through the tight-lacing of corsets. Hands and feet were squeezed into gloves and shoes many times too small so as to appear small and dainty.  Appearance was the most important thing. Mitchell does an excellent job of recreating the minefield that was The Gilded Age.  In the Afterword, Mitchell states: It’s worth remembering that when, as a society, we deem something absolutely necessary to beauty or health or happiness, some people will do absolutely anything to obtain it. This is a lesson Clara learns well (as does the reader).

Highly Recommended.

(I received a copy of She Walks in Beauty from Bethany House in return for a review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of She Walks in Beauty, click here.

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3 Responses to “She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell”

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