Title: A Certain Age
Author: Beatriz Williams
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers brings the Roaring Twenties brilliantly to life in this enchanting and compulsively readable tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal in New York Society, brimming with lush atmosphere, striking characters, and irresistible charm.
As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.
But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.
Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.
Every decade or so, I read a book so richly-told, so lush in its characters and setting, so captivating, I’m completely spellbound. I even dream about the characters and when I’ve finished reading the last word, my heart overflows with emotion. It’s a total emersion of mind, body and spirit and my life is just a little bit better for reading it. This is such a book.
First of all, my gratitude goes out to the author and to William Morrow for publishing this beautiful book and for giving me a complimentary ARC in exchange for my honest review.
It’s roaring twenties in glitzy New York and we first meet Mrs. Theresa Marshall, socialite extraordinaire and her younger lover, Octavian. She loves him and he her but like many wealthy women, divorce is unthinkable. So, they meet in secret and whisper sweet nothings in the dark.
Sophie Fortescue, on the other hand, is just starting out in life and engaged to be married. Her intended? None other than Theresa’s brother, Ox. She’s all innocence and purity… or is she?
Four people’s lives intertwine in this breath-taking story, where lovers become enemies and secrets buried six feet underground unearth themselves to disastrous consequences. Will Sophie find love in Ox’s arms or someone else perhaps? When the dam breaks and the truth is revealed, will Theresa choose life or love?
I loved this story, that much is clear by my opening sentences. Williams grabs the reader by the shoulders and plunges them deep into New York City in the 1920’s. We experience what life was life for a woman in the roaring 20’s. There’s a murder to be solved, a mystery to unravel and before we know what hit us, Williams adds layer upon layer of intrigue.
I was so engrossed in the storyline one afternoon, I almost burned a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Scandalous, I know.
If F. Scott Fitzgerald were alive, I believe he’d give Williams a nod of approval. In my opinion, this is a must-read for readers of all genres. There’s a great romance, murder, mayhem and so much more!
I must admit, it’s a toss up between Sophie and Theresa. Both women tell their stories through the reflection of their glamorous life, surrounded by men who love them. Both women are strong, stronger than any female protagonists I’ve ever read, and yet deep down, they carry insecurities and deep, dark secrets. I loved them both!
“Love, like chicken salad or a restaurant hash, must be taken with blind faith or it loses its flavor.”
My Rating: 5+ stars
Buy it now:
All Worldwide Links: http://beatrizwilliams.com/?page_id=2772
A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a corporate and communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons. She now lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.
Reviewed by: Mrs. N