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It’s a bonbon of a book in the best way; every page feels like a secret indulgence, best read alone, curled up while wearing your most luxurious pajamas.
A dazzling journey through the New York high society of the Gilded Age, where dresses and rumors are more important than politics, The English Wife drips with both Shakespeare references and near-pornographic descriptions of flapper-era fashion and well-appointed townhomes. It’s tempting to call this novel a mystery, but its scope is far wider than a whodunit: It’s a broad examination of culture...
From New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous novel set in the Gilded Age, full of family secrets, affairs, and even murder.
Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life in New York: he's the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dot...
Cold Spring, 1899
They say he's bankrupted himself rebuilding the house'”all for her, of course.' Carrie Rheinlander's voice carried along the high, arched ceiling. 'œAnd then there are those frightful stories about . . . oh, Janie! I didn't see you there.'
No one ever did.
Sometimes, Janie felt like the threads on an old tapestry, blending into the background. That backdrop served its own purpose, Janie knew, but once, just once, she wished she could blaze out in a luster of silver and gold.
But not here. Here, everyone glittered, everyone blazed. Her brother's guests dazzled in garb that would have put a Medici to shame, every breast adorned with diamonds and rubies, every neck hung round with gold chains. The men peacocked in tights and short cloaks; the women dazzled in silks and velvets woven with gold and sewn with jewels. Janie's own costume seemed modest in comparison, the garnets set in and around the squared neckline subdued in their opulence, the poor cousin of rubies.
'œCarrie.' Janie acknowledged Carrie's greeting with a shy nod. They had played dolls together, made their debut together, but Carrie had no time for her now. Carrie had married and Janie hadn't. Against that, all the bonds of kinship and childhood counted as nothing.
Carrie lifted a jeweled hand in acknowledgment, but she was already sailing past. 'œPoor Janie Van Duyvil,' she murmured to her companion. 'œAll that money and still on the shelf.'