05 February 2013

Teen Tuesday

Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton #1) by Leila Rasheed (Disney Hyperion hardcover, 22 January 2013).

Returning from India with her father and sister, after living there for ten years, 16-year-old Ada Averley is wandering around the ship late at night.  She meets a young Indian man on his way  to study at Oxford.  Swept away by the moonlit night and the handsome Ravi, Ada finds herself kissing him passionately.  She comes to her senses and returns to her cabin, certain there's no chance she'll ever see him again.

Back at Somerton, the family estate, Ada and her sister Georgina not only have to adjust to English life again, they have to come to terms with the idea that their father is marrying again, and it seems that the main reason is financial.  Their future stepmother, Mrs. Templeton, has three children of her own, and the expected problems with combining families ensue.

Despite the fact that she would love to go to Oxford herself,  she's being pushed to marry the much older, but "suitable" Lord Fintan.  Plus, no matter how hard she tries, she can't get Ravi out of her mind. 

This absorbing tale of an English family facing not only financial ruin but political turmoil including the budding suffrage movement will benefit from the popularity of Downton Abbey.  It's a charming story which authentically portrays the difficulties of life for young women in the years before World War I. 

Cinders & Sapphires is the first of a planned series, although no information about future installments is available at this time.

FTC Full Disclosure:  Many thanks to the publisher for the digital galley.

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