She Walks in Beauty is stellar, definitely a can’t-put-it-down novel. It is set in New York City in 1890 among society’s elite, most of whom, although dressed in the finest clothing money can buy, are inwardly filthy and decaying. The women tight-lace their corsets to the point where their internal organs get displaced and they can’t eat or breathe, all for the sake of “achieving” a waist that’s a few inches smaller. The men buy political favors that enable them to exploit the lower classes. Families spare no expense in preparing their young daughters for their “debut,” their formal introduction to society, in the hopes of securing a desirable husband–the richer, the better, no matter what his character is like.
Clara Carter, intelligent, compassionate, and unpretentious, finds herself forced into high society sooner than anticipated, with explicit instructions to extract a proposal from the one man who can save her family’s honor and fortune…but how much will it cost her, and is she willing to pay the price?
It is entertaining to escape into the world of luxury and splendor portrayed in She Walks in Beauty, but more than that, the book is an interesting exploration of value and worth. I highly recommend it.