If you follow BookTasty at all you’ve probably realized that I’m participating in the 2013 Debut Author Challenge again this year. The goal is to read at least 12 debut young adult books throughout the year and you can learn more about it here.
The second debut novel I read was Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed.
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.
Sometimes you just need to read something kind of mindless and fun, but I was hoping I’d enjoy Cinders & Sapphires a little more than I actually did.
First let’s clarify that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE British period dramas. I adore reading about the fashion and the upper crust of polite society during pretty much whatever time period you throw at me! There always has to be some good scandal and intrigue mixed in too. Well, in this way Cinders & Sapphires was satisfying! It had all of the above! But sadly, that’s about all it had.
The characters were flat and incredibly one-dimensional. Let’s just lay it all out there: you had your maid with hidden talents who dreams of a better life (of course she does), you have your wealthy debutante who is a closet academic and is, of course, in love with a man of a lower class (or ethnicity) *gasp!*and don’t forget about your eligible bachelor who is scandalously (and secretly) gay *gasp!*. Let’s not ignore the stylish but hateful stepmother and her equally jealous daughter! Throw in an upwards grasping lady’s maid and some mean-spirited (why?!) servants to get our plot moving and…viola! You have it! An unsurprising and kind of boring version of Gossip Girl in period costume.
So much was predictable that it made me lose interest and I had to force myself to finish reading this one…I didn’t want to DNF the second debut I read! The only storyline I was remotely interested in was Ada’s but that’s just because I like romance, even if they are pretty generic.
There you have it. I was disappointed in Cinders & Sapphires, because I felt like it missed the mark that all guilty pleasures should… it wasn’t even bad enough to make me love it! But please remember, don’t take my word for it. A lot of people, including some of my students, really seemed to enjoy this book, so give it a try for yourself…it may turn out to be what you’re in the mood for.