What I've Read This Week . . .
Beyond the Stars by Barbara Cartland -- Victorian Romance
Ingram, The Earl of Ardwick is all set to marry the beautiful, dashing Heloise Brook when she jilts him for a Duke! Not only does she throw him over, she leaves him without a partner for the elaborate costume ball to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. To make matters worse, Heloise kept the expensive jewels he gave her for the ball. Humiliated and angry, Ingram decides to spend the evening with his grandmother at home. Then he discovers a carriage accident and decides to offer his help to the lovely young lady in distress. Lady Lupita Lang and her little brother are running away from a dastardly cousin who is trying to kill the young boy. Lord Ardwick offers his protection as guardian. He knew their father and knows of their cousin's wastrel lifestyle. Lord Ardwick plans to take to the ball with a plan that will launch her into society and show up Heloise. He finds himself increasingly drawn to the beautiful girl and desires to help her. She is attracted to his authoritarian manner and the safety she feels when she's with him. She thinks that once her cousin is gone, Lord Ardwick will go back to London and forget about her. He worries for the safety of the young woman he admires but isn't willing to admit love until he's faced with a challenge is isn't sure he can handle. This is another drippy love story with a very young, very innocent girl who falls in love with her guardian. I absolutely hate the young girls who fall in love with their guardians. That's really all I have to say about this story, except that it's short and the villain is vanquished a little too easily.
At the turn of the 20th century, Delana Hannibal is comfortable living with her grandfather and Aunt Tillie in Charleston, WV. She's learned from Aunt Tillie not to question and to beware of many dangers. Delana loves her Aunt Tillie, though, especially the funny family stories she tells that accompany family photos. The two people that Aunt Tillie never talks about are Delana's parents. She assumes that talking about her mother makes Grandpa said and Delana was told her father was a wastrel who ran off. When Aunt Tillie dies unexpectedly, Delana's whole world changes. A surprise visitor, Delana's cousin Ambertine, arrives and tells Delana stories about her family that contradict what Aunt Tillie has told Delana. Delana begins to wonder about her parents and their relationship. As she searches for answers, she finds her wings and learns to fly. This is a coming-of-age story about an African-American girl whose family life has been affected by slavery. The family stories in the book are made up stories about people in the author's antique photo collection. The stories sound like they could be real and the photos are magnificent. The plot of the novel is interesting and engaging. It kept my attention and I couldn't wait to find out what happened to Delana's parents. The coming-of-age story is wonderful and unique. The lessons are subtle and not too heavy-handed. I really liked this book and I hope there's a sequel!