The Secret Life of Violet Grant
Narrated by: Kathleen McInerney
Release Date: 05-27-14
Publisher: Penguin Audio
My Rating: 4 Stars
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 passionnelof 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.
THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT by Beatriz Williams combines an air of mystery, intrigue, love, romance, and secrets for an engaging historical fiction.
Having read Overseas and A Hundred Summers, was delighted to listen to the audiobook, performed by Kathleen McInerney, who captured the essence of the time. A re-connection of two women and years of lost history, with an old suitcase full of secrets of lost love, crossing generations of time.
Vivian newly graduated has recently defied the privilege of her Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite by breaking into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine, owned by her college friend Gogo's father.
But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her back into her family's past, and the not talked about crime passion of an aunt she never knew—whose existence has been wiped from the record of history. A scandalous Aunt Violet, rumored to have murdered her husband in 1914 and run off with her lover, Vivian is determined to uncover the truth. In addition, she begins a romantic relationship with the handsome doctor who lugs the bag up to her fifth-floor apartment.
The two stories of an aunt and a niece before the First World War, and later in NYC; a complex and riveting tale. As a journalist, Vivian is in pursuit of a story, which would make her career. Flashing back and forth between the time periods and two protagonists, Vivian and Violet, was seamless, bridging the old with the new. There were so many elements which join these two dealing with the men in their lives and their dreams challenged by society and family expectations.
Convinced that the trail in the U.S. has run its course, Vivian continues her quest in London. As her search winds down and Vivian puts together the final pieces of information, she finally resolves the long-standing mystery and sets a course for her future.
Although both are interesting protagonists, I loved Vivian's wisecracking one liners, questioning Violet's naïve, subservient approach to her marriage, especially since she's previously been presented as a strong, intelligent woman. An intriguing mystery into why Vivian's family wasn't interested in discovering the complete truth about Violet's fate.
Fans of historic fiction and authors: Diane Chamberlain and Sarah Jio will enjoy this dynamic duo and THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT!