“The Secret Life of Violet Grant” by Beatrice Williams

Overall Rating: 5/5

Read it, or save your time? One of the most compelling, unique and exciting pieces of fiction I have read in quite some time.  The surprising and exciting twists and turns literally do not stop until the last page, yet it never seems farfetched.  Every character is dynamic and interesting in their own way.  Just so f-ing good!

What’s it about?

In 1964, beautiful, sassy Vivien Shuyler leaves behind the comfort of her parents’ posh Park Avenue apartment to pursue a career as a writer for the chic Metropolitan magazine. One day she receives an intriguing package from the post office; an old, battered suitcase that once belonged to her Aunt Violet, whom no one has heard from since 1914, and who allegedly murdered her husband and ran away with her lover.  As Vivien delves through the contents of the suitcase and consequently the details of her family’s past,  she becomes determined to uncover and publish the secrets they have so carefully kept the last 50 years.

It is 1914, and Violet Grant defies the wishes of her waspy family and lands herself a position as the only female scientist at a prestigious European research institute.  She marries the renowned Dr. Walter Grant in pre-war Germany, and suffers years of his infidelity and cruelty, as she believes this is her only hope to continue the research she loves in a male-dominated profession.  However, when a former student of Walter’s, the gorgeous British Army Captain Lionel Richardson steps in her lab, her whole world begins to change.   As he continues to pursues her, she starts to believe for the first time she can decide her own fate.  However, with a plethora of extraordinary characters surrounding her, and Europe on the brink of the war, no one is who they seem…

As Vivien is unraveling the truth about her mysterious Aunt Violet, she is also dealing with her own  disastrous love affair and work spectacles which are every bit as entertaining as the historical drama.

Reviewer’s Note:

Vivien Shuyler is one of the most dynamic, enigmatic characters I have encountered since Scarlett O’Hara, and I not so secretly want to be her.  You will too.




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