This is one of those stories that moves back and forth between decades, with each segment revealing something new about the other. Grace Monroe is a new bride in 1950s England, when she learns that she's been left an inheritance by Madame Eva d'Orsey, a woman unknown to her. The story is filled with a bit of mystery, eccentric characters, and a story line that is enjoyable especially to those of us who love perfume.
I think this will go on my list as one of my favorite reads of the year. I loved this story of a teenage mother in southern Appalachia who is befriended by an older woman at the shirt factory where they sit side by side stitching shirt collars. When her friend dies, Emmalee wants to make her a special dress for her burial, much to the disapproval of the townspeople who feel that a good Christian woman deserves better. I felt connected to Emmalee and admired her courage, tenacity and her determination to give her baby a better life. This is a beautifully crafted story, with a lovely writing style.
This is a memoir by one of the American heiresses who marry into British aristocracy and inspired the role of Lady Grantham on Downton Abby. It provides a firsthand account of life upstairs and downstairs at Bleinheim Palace by the wife of the Duke of Marlborough. But that is only part of her story, as later Consuelo becomes a philanthropist and champion of women's rights. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, once I gave myself permission to skim over the plethora of names and titles of her numerous house guests, and just enjoy the book for her accounting of life during the Edwardian era.
What have you been reading this summer? Do share in the comments section.