"To put it simply: This book is a full-on HIT. Belmont's history is fascinating and provides a rich setting for historical romance. The author has placed a diverse palette of colorful characters within her heady setting, but among them none is quite as vibrantly drawn as The Lady of Belmont herself, Mrs. Adelicia Acklen.
Smart, wealthy, outspoken, and thoroughly savvy, Adelicia could be considered a minor character in this book, but I'm pretty sure The Lady of Belmont doesn't do minor. Born before her time (how many antebellum women do you know of who had prenups?). Adelicia didn't allow the constraints of Southern femininity to limit the mark she would leave on history. Cast in the part of employer to both Claire and Sutton, Adelicia plays an understated role in bringing the couple together romantically, but even though her role in the romance is slight, it is her example of strength and resilience that greases the wheels that help Claire come into her own.
The two women are very much alike: driven, competitive, talented, and desperate for acceptance in the circles of society at which they aim. But whereas Adelicia's great wealth gives her the means to gradually buy her way back into society's good graces, Claire's poverty, combined with her checkered past as a forger, limits her ability to achieve the (artistic) acclaim she so desires.
I love the counterplay of the two women, especially when viewed through Sutton's point of view. Without being blind to her faults, Sutton's respect for Mrs. Acklen is clear and, as his attraction to Claire deepens, it is that comparison that adds the necessary ingredient of respect to the love relationship . . ."
I've got a day of writing ahead, except for a quick lunch with a wonderful friend, Kathy, and her sweet 86-year old mother who has read all of my books. Kathy said her mother has some ideas for novels so I'm looking forward to some fun brainstorming too! And lots of laughter, I'm sure.
I'll be back in just a bit with more in the Bake-off Challenge with Angie Hunt too. I'm pretty sure she overdosed on macarons last week, but I understand she's seeking professional help.