Friday, February 28, 2014

Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed

At Somerton #1
January 22, 2013
YA Historical Fiction
ACQUIRED: Public library


One house, two worlds...
Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies' maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can't help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada.
For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada's beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family's honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name--but it would mean giving up her one true love... someone she could never persuade her father to accept.
Sumptuous and enticing, the first novel in the At Somerton series introduces two worlds, utterly different yet entangled, where ruthless ambition, forbidden attraction, and unspoken dreams are hidden behind dutiful smiles and glittering jewels. All those secrets are waiting... at Somerton. 
-From Goodreads


This one was a difficult one to call, mostly because it was hard for me to get into at the start. It was a close race for the good and the bad on this one, and in the end I settled on a solid 3 out of 5 stars for Cinders & Sapphires
One of the things I loved about this book was that it had plenty of interesting twists and lots of drama. There was always something going on with some character. I particularly enjoyed Sebastian's story line, even though the story itself is about primarily about Rose and Ada. It was an interesting twist on the 20's in Britain. The novel also had some very well done characters: characters that were well rounded and seemed to leap off the page. 
There were some bad things about the novel as well. And when I say bad things, I mean that they are things that made it hard for me to give the novel a great rating. Things seemed to happen very abruptly in the novel, going from one thing to another without a whole lot of explanation as to why they were occurring. And while they eventually became well done plot devices, it did put me off a bit that there were several cliched that were used in the novel. The biggest one was the fact that there is the overdone "impossible love" angle. As well as the "good" angelic girl versus the "bad" scheming girl. Of course, they're used well, but they were a bit off putting.
By the end of the novel however, I was invested and loving the story. It took a while, but it was worth it. I look forward to book two. 

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