Cinders & Sapphires
Author: Leila Rasheed
Series: At Somerton #1
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies’ maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can’t help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada. For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada’s beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family’s honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name – but it would mean giving up her one true love…someone she could never persuade her father to accept. Sumptuous and enticing, the first novel in the At Somerton series introduces two worlds, utterly different yet entangled, where ruthless ambition, forbidden attraction, and unspoken dreams are hidden behind dutiful smiles and glittering jewels. All those secrets are waiting…at Somerton.
First Sentence: Lady Ada Averley leaned on the rail of the steamboat Moldavia, feeling the hum of the ship’s huge engines through the steel, a rhythmic shudder like a giant’s breathing.
I am obsessed with historical romances because of two main reasons: the sweet romance and the time period the book is set in. That’s why, when I heard that a new book that was coming out, Cinders & Sapphires, that was a historical fiction young adult book with romance in it, I knew I had to get my hands on it right away. However, to my disappointment, Cinders & Sapphires simply wasn’t that good.
The first thing that bought Cinders & Sapphires down was the insta-love or love at first sight. Seriously. Lady Ada risks her reputation, money, and family for a guy she talked to for less than two minutes – then proceeded to kiss. (It still counts if he kissed her first and she kissed him back just as passionately.) From then on, Lady Ada was in love. All she knew was the guy’s name and what college he attended – nothing else. Oh goodness, the insta-love in all these books nowadays.
And what’s up with the kissing scenes? Every time Ada and her lover kiss, the word “passionately” is always used to describe the kiss. I’m sure there are lots of other ways to describe more than three separate kissing scenes other than using the word “passionately,” don’t you? Maybe write it with a little more explicit detail; anything is better than being repetitive.
You know the feeling when you read a book and you really connected with it? The feeling when you feel the characters pain, cry when the characters cry, worry when the characters made some enemies, and smile when the characters finally get their happy ending because of all the emotions? Yes, well, I didn’t get any of those feelings and emotions while I was reading Cinders & Sapphires. I just felt that I was at the outside, looking in. Nothing really grabbed at me and won me over.
There were also too many characters to read about and remember. Unlike Gossip Girl where all the characters played a major role to the plot, Cinders & Sapphires are full with characters that serves no real purpose to the book. There are at least three servants, one high society family, and some other people who are not needed in the book, but are just there to make me wonder, um, who is this again? and flip back several pages until I remember.
Ada also annoyed me to no end. She is mentally slow. Ada decides to eavesdrop on a conversation where the two people were so obviously talking about her. (Please note that Ada also saw who those two people were.) Eight pages later, Ada sees one of those two people shooting furious glares at her and Ada wonders why. Why would someone glare so furiously at innocent her? Hello, Ada, the person revealed that she liked someone eight pages ago while you were eavesdropping on her and now you’re flirting with the person she likes in front of her. That’s why she’s glaring at you.
So dear reader, if you were like me and was fooled into thinking that Cinders & Sapphires would be an awesome read because of the gorgeous cover and the fact that it’s a historical fiction book, think again. However, the “Downtown Abbey meets Gossip Girl” pitch is kind of true in this scenario though (only the Gossip Girl part because I don’t watch Downtown Abbey). Either way, if I was you, I would skip this book. Even that sort of cliffhanger at the end doesn’t convince me to read the next book in the series. (Well, if the cover was gorgeous, I may be willing to try it out…)