I am All In on Beatriz Williams. I have liked or loved every book she’s written and her ability to un-romanticize the past and remind me that everyone, everywhere, living at any time, is a total mess. I appreciate this in my messier times which are very few and far between (if you count time in fractions of seconds). Past books of hers that I’ve enjoyed are Along the Infinite Sea andTiny Little Thing. In her newest book, A Certain Age, we find ourselves in New York in the Roaring Twenties (yay!), digging into Manhattan society and all the scandal, deceit, and intrigue we can find (again… yay!). I am a very big fan of scandal, deceit and intrigue as long as none of it involves me.
Our main chick here is Theresa Marshall, the forty something wife of Sylvo, a rich and uncaring man who finds herself in love with a (quite) young man just back from the Great War. It is like someone just put all the things I like in a blender and came out with a novel. His name is Captain Octavian Rofrano (this is a great name) and he does not care that she is married with adult children or that he is penniless and certainly dealing with PTSD, he wants to marry her. The fan fiction here is writing itself. This can only end well, no? Well… no.
Before they can run off into their happily ever after, Theresa’s brother Ox (again with the names!) decides to ask a sweet young woman named Sophie, who is the daughter of a wealthy inventor, to marry him. For some completely bananas reason that I will never understand, this proposal involves Captain Rofrano acting as Ox’s ‘cavalier’ (This is a real thing! Maybe!) which means that Rofrano presents Sophie with a family diamond and then is in charge of investigating her family while she is distracted staring at how shiny it is? I am not making any of this up.
Naturally Rofrano falls in love with the beautiful and naïve Sophie as he digs deeper and deeper into her background. And there is plenty to dig up, don’t forget about the intrigue I mentioned earlier. In a series of coincidences that could not possibly be remotely plausible, we find out about her early life and the scandal that has hidden in plain sight for years. Eventually, as everything usually does, everything falls apart for all of them, and Theresa proves again and again that she is a woman to root for.
If you like historical fiction and kickass chicks you’ll have a good time here. Amazon is telling me that A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York. I have literally no idea what that means, but I loved it anyway.
A Certain Age – Grade B+