Another engaging novel from Beatrix Williams. Part historical fiction, part mystery — this one is as fun to read as another by Williams, THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT, the first in the author’s series about the Schuyler Sisters. This is the third novel in that series. #2 is entitled Tiny Little Thing.
Once again Williams draws from her fictional American family, the Schuylers, who appear in one form or another in many if not all of her books. This time it’s Pepper — beautiful (of course), single, very pregnant, estranged from her family, and dodging a prominent US Senator’s powerful family in the 1960s. (Gee, I wonder who he might be modeled on.)
Through the sale of an obscure 1936 Mercedes roadster, Pepper comes into the orbit of prominent cellist and recent widow, Annabelle Dommerich, a woman with deep secrets of her own. Though a generation apart, Pepper and Annabelle each feels a strong connection with the other.
Williams repeats a writing device I recognize from her other books to build suspense, weaving back and forth between the two women’s stories, often leaving you hanging at a critical moment in one story while she continues the story of the other. It works because it prolongs the time before you learn how each woman wound up in her current situation. Those explanations involve Nazi persecution of Jews, passionate love affairs, unplanned pregnancies, clandestine political operatives, and even a couple of murders.
There are lots of surprises and you won’t get your final questions answered until the very last page. A totally engrossing and fast read!