A mysterious trunk could be Vivian Schuyler's ticket to success. This trunk is full of secrets from the past. This trunk could be the key to solving a murder!
Sounds intriguing doesn't it! The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams is compulsively readable.
Let's set the scene. Manhattan. 1964. The young Vivian Schuyler does the opposite of what her wealthy family expects from her. What? She's working ... for a living! Rather than trying to snag a wealthy husband and living out her days as a socialite, Vivian is working at a high-profile magazine. She's just a fact-checker, but she aspires to be a writer. She's looking for her big break -- a story that will skyrocket her career. Little does she know that big story lies within her own family.
The mysterious trunk reveals the past of Violet Schuyler Grant, Vivian's aunt and the black sheep of the Schuyler family. Vivian's story starts in 1912, just before the height of World War I. In many ways, Violet was just like Vivian. Violet went to college, she wanted a career, and wanted to prove that she's just as intelligent as any man. Violet went to Europe, eventually studying physics at Oxford. She was on the right path, but ultimately it was a man, her husband Dr. Walter Grant, who damaged her physically and emotionally. Walter does everything he can to control Violet's life, all under the guise of his love for her. He decides when they go out and where. He decides when Violet can come around him. He decides when they have sex and how they have sex. He makes decisions for her reproductive health, not matter the cost to Vivian's emotional health.
Initially, Violet doesn't know any better. Walter is a man of stature. How can she rebel against him? When she finally gets that wakeup call, it's VERY eye-opening. Lets just say she catches Walter in a compromising position. Walter, being the scumbag that he is, doesn't even flinch when he's caught. But it awakens Violet. She starts thinking and acting differently, which ties back to the whole premise of this book. Who is Violet Grant? And.......did she murder her husband and run off with her lover? The answers could be in that trunk.
The book alternates between Vivian and Violet's perspective. Each woman's story was compelling. Although, I was drawn more to Violet's story. Vivian had a more modern approach to life and she had more choices. Would Violet have been a different person if she came of age in 1964 as opposed to 1912? Maybe. In some spots, the book felt like a thriller. I'm gobbling up each page trying to get to the next. Each chapter reveals another layer to each woman's story. This book kept me guessing and I would definitely read another book by Beatriz Williams!
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Berkley) as part of a blog tour.