DNF Review: The Secret Life of Violet Grant

Title: The Secret Life of Violet Grant 18667976

Author: Beatriz Williams

Rating: DNF (Did Not Finish)

Provided Synopsis: Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history.

Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: for all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe’s fateful summer interrupts this delicate détente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel’s shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own.

As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet’s story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad … and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future––and the love––she wants most.

Review: DNF — July 2014

Unfortunately this is the second Beatriz Williams book that has not gone over well with me. I wanted to like this story, and I was very intrigued by the synopsis and the beautiful cover. But my impressions of the characters evolved to such a point that I decided to abandon this book almost exactly at the halfway mark.

Vivian, no matter how much I love her name, got on my nerves. I felt as if the attempt to make her this damaged woman who uses wit to protect herself was completely over-the-top. Her dialogue was insufferable and the way she treated the woman who is supposed to be her best friend was the last straw for me, especially once Vivian continued to carry on with Doctor Paul after the reveal that her friend was dating him when Vivian met him and had been expecting a proposal from him. Doctor Paul also grated on my nerves with his talk of love after spending twelve hours with the woman. Was the sex really that wonderful? Could you be any more of a lust driven man? I did not buy their “love” and I was disgusted with them, so bye book!

Violet’s life was far more interesting and I continue to be interested in the mystery of what happened to her, her husband, and her eventual lover, but I cannot put up with the Vivian chapters and the information that will be contained within them to get there. I’ll just read other reviews to get my answers. To be honest, Violet aggravated me too — she is a woman with the strength to separate from her wealthy American family to travel to England in the year 1914 to pursue a career in science. But once she gets there she becomes a total doormat. Just blech!

Not the book for me.


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