Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Review: Cartier's Hope by M.J. Rose

Title: Cartier's Hope
Author: M.J. Rose
Published: January 2020, Atria Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Publisher via GetRed PR

From the New York Times bestselling author of the “lush, romantic historical mystery” (Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale) Tiffany Blues, a gorgeously wrought novel following an intrepid female journalist in Gilded Age New York as she chases the story of the Hope Diamond.

New York, 1910: A city of magnificent skyscrapers and winding subways, where poor immigrants are crammed into tenements while millionaires thrive in Fifth Avenue mansions. Vera Garland is a thirty-two-year-old journalist, fighting alongside hundreds of women for a place in society, only to meet hurdles around every turn. Most female journalists are delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages but like her hero, Nellie Bly, Vera is a fighter.

When news of the Hope Diamond—a jewel whose infamous legends and curses have captured the world’s attention—arrives in the city, Vera is fast on its trail. She’s certain the fabulous jewel will help jumpstart her career but she’s determined to seek revenge against her current employer, a magazine owner whose greed and blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father.

Set against the backdrop of New York’s glitter and grit, this enchanting historical novel explores the very human desire for truth, equality, and retribution.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by M.J. Rose but it definitely won't be the last. I definitely have found my grove in reading historical fiction again lately and this one, set in NYC during the Gilded Age was just fascinating.

I was absolutely captivated by this story - once I started reading it, I had a hard time putting it down and ended up reading it in just two days. I love when I become so engaged in a story that I just can't walk away from it and that is exactly what happened here. Right from the start, I was swept up in the story and I think because some of this is based on historical fact and some is fictional, I found myself wanting to keep reading so that I could then do my research - I don't like to google while reading so as to not spoil anything for myself, especially when reading about a topic I am not familiar with. But as I find with most historical fiction, and why I love reading it, it always sends me down a rabbit hole afterwards, and now I am desperate to read more not only about New York's Gilded Age, a time period I love reading about, but also about early female journalists, particularly, Nellie Bly. And of course, I do want to know more about this Hope Diamond and the Cartiers...while I'm not a big jewelry person, I do like to admire beautiful pieces of jewelry and loved hearing about the history of that piece.

I loved that this book explores journalism in the early 1900s. Vera is a woman who is not about to settle for the norms of society - she knows what she wants and is not going to settle for what is expected of her. I loved that about her. It also very aptly shows the contrast between the haves and the have nots, which Vera was able to use to her advantage time and again when working on assignments, particularly when putting together her piece about the Hope Diamond.

M.J. Rose very cleverly crafted her book to use the time period to propel her story forward and her writing is so vivid that I could picture New York in all it's charm and glory. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical mystery and will certainly be checking out her other books as well as doing some further reading on the topics I mentioned above. 


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