Thursday, April 08, 2010

She Walks in Beauty

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

She Walks in Beauty
Bethany House (April 2010)

Siri Mitchell


Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.


For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor.

Debuting means plenty of work--there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling.

Yet Clara soon wonders if this is the life she really wants. Especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries.

When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her marriage at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

If you would like to read the first chapter of She Walks in Beauty, go HERE.

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell is a lush yet realistic view of Gilded Age New York. Clara Carter has been informed by her father and aunt that it is her responsibility to marry the De Vries heir, Franklin, to right wrongs done by his family twenty years ago. Clara would much rather spend her time with her nose in a book of Byron's poetry or learning about science and the world than have an eighteen inch waist and know the difference between a lettuce fork and a lemon fork, but she feels helpless to go against her father's will. Thrown into the lushly opulent world of upper class New York, she finds herself going from one party to the next and forced to second guess her lifelong friendship with Lizzie who also has her heart set on Franklin. The more she is exposed to the luxury, the more she starts to question its value when seen against the plight of immigrants. Mitchell perfectly depicts this era in New York, where the rich pay to keep their veneer of respectability while the poor are forced to suffer ever deeper humiliations to survive. Clara's beautiful heart carries her through, and readers will find themselves falling in love with her dignity and desire for something more than a marriage of convenience. There are a few too plot contrivances that don't quite work (three overheard conversations in one novel pushes believability), but for the most part, readers won't be able to put down this story of romance, integrity, and hope.