It’s strange how reading wonderful books can sometimes feel like something else. Self-help is a much-needed a yoga class after a hard day of work, page-turning fiction is a decadent piece of chocolate cake to be devoured, and The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams is a glass of champagne: bubbly, romantic, and of another world.
The year is 1964, the girl Vivian Schuyler. Vivian is a witty and vivacious career girl with her sights set on journalism, but for now, she must settle for making the journalists’ coffee. When she unexpectedly receives the long-lost suitcase of her long-lost great-aunt, Vivian teams up with Doctor Paul – her newfound love interest – to uncover the history of the woman she never knew. But as she starts to put together the pieces of her family’s story, the dirty truth comes out: Vivian’s ancestor was an adulterer and murderer.
In a dual narrative, we meet Violet Grant, aka Vivian’s great-aunt, who is one of the only female scientists of the early twentieth century. She is young and bright and all alone in her male-dominated field, but she soon finds solace with her professor, an enigmatic older man. They decide to marry, but as time marches on, Violet comes to realize her marriage is not everything she thought it was nor anything she wanted.
This double historical fiction is full of drama and intrigue, but more than anything, it is about love. Charming and readable, The Secret Life of Violet Grant would be perfect for those who don’t like the conventions of a romance novel, but still crave the emotion inside it.
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