Saturday, January 16, 2021

Review: Under a Gilded Moon by Joy Jordan-Lake


Title: Under a Gilded Moon
Author: Joy Jordan-Lake
Narrator: Kathleen Gati
Published: December 2020, Brilliance Audio / Lake Union Publishing
Length: 12 hours 58 minutes / 414 pages
Source: Audio - Personal copy / Print - Hardcover via GetRed PR

Summary:

From the bestselling author of A Tangled Mercy comes an enthralling novel of secrets, a tumultuous war of ideas, and murder as classes collide in the shadow of Biltmore House.

Biltmore House, a palatial mansion being built by the Vanderbilts, American “royalty,” is in its final stages of construction in North Carolina. The country’s grandest example of privilege, it symbolizes the aspirations of its owner and the dreams of a girl, just as driven, who lives in its shadow.
 
Kerry MacGregor’s future is derailed when, after two years in college in New York City, family obligations call her home to the beautiful Appalachians. She is determined to distance herself from the opulence she sees rising in the Blue Ridge Mountains, however close its reach. Her family’s land is among the last pieces required to complete the Biltmore Estate. But something more powerful than an ambitious Vanderbilt heir could change Kerry’s fate as, one by one, more outsiders descend on the changing landscape—a fugitive from Sicily, a reporter chasing a groundbreaking story, a debutante tainted by scandal, and a conservationist prepared to put anyone at risk to stoke the resentment of the locals.
 
As Kerry finds herself caught in a war between wealth and poverty, innocence and corruption, she must navigate not only her own pride and desperation to survive but also the temptations of fortune and the men who control it.


My thoughts: Historical fiction and mysteries are two genres I love, so when I find books that combine the two, I absolutely need to read them and this latest book by Joy Jordan-Lake, an author who I have never read before, was presented to me, I knew I had to give it a chance and I'm so glad I did...I really enjoyed it. Plus...I happened to be a little fascinated by the Vanderbilts, so total win-win!

This book had such an amazing sense of place and really distinguishes between the haves and the have nots. It was so easy to be swept up into the place and time of this book and the writing was so descriptive that I could really picture the building of  the house on this estate - a place that I really do hope to visit at some point.  Add in a murder mystery and I was completely captivated. I found myself glued to the book and even when I had to put it down, I was thinking about everything - the characters, the setting, the lush descriptions that we were given.

I love that this book is based on real people. Reading historical fiction always intrigues me because I learn something new or learn more about something I am interested in. I have read a few books already about the Vanderbilts and have been wanting to read more and this one definitely checked that box. 

I definitely suggest picking this one up...it's such a well-written story that will keep you engaged all the way through. 


Audio thoughts: When I saw that Kathleen Gati was the narrator for this book, I knew I had to listen to it. She is one of my favorite audiobook narrators and she did such a great job bringing this book to life.

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