Cinders & Sapphires

Leila Rasheed. Hyperion, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4231-7117-1
In the spring of 1910, Lady Ava Averley sails from colonial India to her family’s English estate at Somerton Court. On board, she meets a cute but common Indian boy, Ravi Sundaresan, and they steal a clandestine kiss. Ada’s first season is approaching, but she dreams of attending Oxford, at a time when the higher education of women is frowned upon. At Somerton, Ada’s father remarries, and Ada contends with her new stepfamily, including a mean stepmother and rival stepsister. She also has a new, 16-year-old maid, Rose, a girl with her own secrets as well as aspirations that go beyond her current station. British author Rasheed brings a dizzying number of characters and subplots together skillfully in this first book in the At Somerton series, mixing standard upstairs/downstairs fare with clashes involving sexuality, scandal, love triangles, and murder. Scheming and secrets drive a plot with largely shallow players (Ada’s other love interest, Lord Fintan, is an exception), but fans of historical romances like the Luxe series and shows like Downton Abbey will look forward to the next book. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 01/01/2013
Paperback - 389 pages - 978-1-4231-7511-7
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