The Secret Life of Violet Grant
Booklist Reviews 2014 April #2
Williams, author of the best-selling A Hundred Summers (2013), conjures up another substantive beach read steeped in history and familial intrigue. Separated by 50 years but joined together in spirit and ambition, Vivian Schuyler and Violet Schuyler Grant share equal parts of the narrative flow as the story leapfrogs back and forth between 1964 New York and 1914 Berlin. When Vivian accepts delivery of a musty parcel from the past, she is compelled to unlock the secrets that have shrouded the memory of her Great Aunt Violet. Though the blue-blooded Schuyler family has done its best to bury and ignore Violet's disgraceful past—she was, after all, determined to pursue a career as a scientist!—the deeper Vivian digs, the more invested she becomes in Violet's story. Rumor has it that Violet murdered her husband and mentor, Dr. Walter Grant, before mysteriously disappearing with her lover on the eve of WWI. As Vivian closes in on the past, she has a heart-wrenching problem of her own to resolve in the present. Readers will love wallowing in the twists and turns of this irresistibly luxurious tale. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2014 April #2
This follow-up to One Hundred Summers is the story of two women whose dreams are challenged by society and familial expectations. Violet Schuyler is an intelligent young woman who is naïve to the ways of the world when she meets Dr. Walter Grant, the noted physical chemist, who champions Violet's scientific career, and her gratitude leads her to fall in love with him. But she soon finds herself trapped in an unhappy marriage. Then Violet's husband's former protégé, Lionel Richardson, arrives, leading her to a crisis point. In 1960s New York, Vivian Schuyler wants to write magazine articles instead of spending her days fetching coffee for her editor. When she receives a suitcase that once belonged to her scandalous Aunt Violet, rumored to have murdered her husband in 1914 and run off with her lover, Vivian is determined to uncover the truth. VERDICT Williams's latest is another absorbing page-turner filled with romance and secrets but with some flaws. While Violet's narrative will captivate readers with its intrigue and the protagonist's struggles, Vivian's story is less compelling and the plot strains believability toward the end. Fans of the earlier work will be delighted by the cameo appearance of Lily and other characters from that novel. [See Prepub Alert, 11/18/13.]—Christina Thurairatnam, Holmes Cty. Dist. P.L., Millersburg, OH[Page 81]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.