Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed
Those nice folks at Disney Hyperion got it on the nose when they sent me this, for I love with all my heart historical fiction. I’m a sucker for period dramas. I can never cease to get enough of the upstairs, downstairs stories containing star crossed lovers. Forbidden attraction with high stakes and I’m reeled in till the end.
Before I wax poetically on Cinders & Sapphires, let’s discuss the cover. Am I the only one who thinks the girl in the middle (Ada) looks like a young Stephanie Meyer? I wonder if it was intentional, like that one Vampire Academy cover where the model on the front looks like Angelina Jolie? Hmmm.
Moving on, I enjoyed this book. It’s like a YA version of Downton Abbey, minus the sharp tongue of Dowager Granthem. Like Downton, this book is filled with a giant cast of characters, from upstairs to downstairs, with a huge range of personalities. From mean and spiteful, to over the top playboys to innocent and naive.
The story is told in third person, and jumps from character to character on a dime, but the main characters are Ada Averley and Rose Cliffe. Ada’s nobility, part of the gentry class. As such there are a lot of expectations placed on her, mostly to make a good match. Rose is a servant, and is treated as such. She’s meek, mild mannered and not much is expected of her. Sadly her one talent cannot blossom because of her place in society.
I’m looking forward to book two in this series, I foresee big things for Rose, and Ada will have to make a major, life changing decision that could potentially rock her family’s world.