Large country estates, lavish parties. Elegant young ladies in the most fashionable frocks. Dashing men in their attire--be it in sporting or evening white tie. That was the world Clarissa Granville had known all her life. Young, beautiful and rich, she was to conquer the world--or at least the world that the upper echelons of society of Britain only knew.
Until that fateful day of August 4, 1914, when Britain declared war against Germany.
They were at the throes of a lovely house party when the news was announced. Days prior to that, she made a new friend in Tom Cuthbert, the son of the housekeeper at Deyning Park, the Granville's home. The friendship made an impact on her--and it is safe to say that she was attracted to him as well. However, one thing stood in their way--class disparities. Clarissa was a daughter of a man of means. And Tom was stations below her. But he was ambitious and wants a career in law.
Faster than anyone can blink an eye, the world around Clarissa changes. Her brothers go off to fight, as well as her friends--Tom Cuthbert included. But by that time, Tom and Clarissa were very much drawn to each other, like moths to a flame.
I don't want to tell you more without spoiling everything for you! Apart from missed chances, misunderstandings and an illegitimate daughter born during the war, that is. Admittedly, parts of the story seemed to drag, and sometimes, I felt that Clarissa wasn't doing enough, wasn't saying enough to be with Tom. There were many times I wanted to pull my hair out because of Clarissa's mother. Since I only have an ebook version, I couldn't very well throw my phone out due to sheer frustration! And sometimes Tom could be such an arse.
Then again, I forgot that times were different then. Sad, but not less true, (high) society was cruel to girls who run off or marry men stations below them, not to mention bear their children. As frustrating as the story could be sometimes, this was miles more realistic. Time, love and their unspeakable attraction to each other (among other things) won the day in the end. And Mrs. Granville had a secret of her own too. Who would have thought?
I read this book because it was highly recommended among blogging circles, and it was set in the same era as my favourite period drama. And also because it was set in the time period that fascinated me so much--the First World War. Clarissa was detailed in explaining what had happened to the people around her--names of battles, names of places, casualties and so on. I don't know about you, but it made want to Google all the names she's mentioned, and look at the maps, tracing the events during that time.
Despite my plot griping, this book is worth a read. I've always wondered why this book isn't in Philippine bookstore shelves yet!
Image courtesy of Goodreads.com