STORY: Living in a fatherless home, Lilly Hoyt is ripped from the only home she’d ever known. Her mother, raised as a socialite in New York, Esme is needed home again when her father, a newspaper baron, falls ill. Unlike her mother and cousin, Rosie, at nineteen Lilly is restless. Rosie embraces this life, including the risqué fashions and trends. Her mother Jinx finds herself in something of a scandal after the death of Rosie’s father; and she determines her daughter will never know this kind of pain
Set during the “allure of the 1920s,” cousins Lilly and Rosie must find their own paths even as they rebel against everyone who loves them most….
Baroness, by Susan May Warren | Book Review
REVIEW: Despite the sullen aptitude, I fell completely, head-over-heels in love with Warren’s debut novel in this series, Heiress. It reminds me of the ITV series Downton Abbey but is also a dark, brooding sort of “fairy tale.” The first novel chronicles the young lives of sisters Esme and Jinx, and now Warren gives us their daughters’ sagas. In the beginning, Baroness reminds me a great deal of the first novel. (Perhaps too much so.) With Heiress still so fresh in my memory, I didn’t want to see these girl’s go down a similar path.
There is plenty of “intricate” and unique parts to this book; one of them being a slower timeframe which eases the pace of the book. This covers four years instead of twenty (as Heiress does) and allows for more character development. There’s lovely detail here including breathtaking costumes, intricate ball rooms, flappers, night clubs, and everything we can imagine of the 1920’s. Sadly, everything in Baroness is about heartache, and the characters in need of either forgiveness or forgiving. Each time the reader experiences a character enjoy a glimmer of happiness, something from their past haunts them and effectively removes the emotion. Somehow none of that lessens this saga’s beauty. Fortunately, the characters are never allowed an easy path past their troubles.
BOOK REVIEW | ‘Heiress’: A Historical Romance Set in the Gilded Age
There’s so much strength in these characters. Both girls spend nearly the entire novel searching for their “place,” whatever it is that is going to help them thrive in the world. Rosie assumes she finds hers on the arm of a mob boss while Lilly believes her place is to go back to the past. These decisions lead Rosie to live a life that closely mirrors her mothers, which is something I deeply regret.
As before, some Christian readers may be bothered that Warren doesn’t include a strong spiritual aspect to the story. All of the characters broken souls usually only seek God when they’re in pain. Although not my usual genre choice, I do love this series thus far. The writing is good; Susan’s talent cannot be denied, and the story is intriguing. There’s just this inexplicable pull. The final novel, Duchess,is up next, and while I don’t know how everyone else feels, I’m excited for this last chapter in the Worth legacy. I only wish that in reaching this conclusion, there could be more glimmers of joy.
About the book:
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Content: It’s been too long since I read this, but do seem to recall there is adult material (sexual content like innuendo, promiscuous behavior), and thematic elements, too.