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She Walks in Beauty Paperback – April 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mitchell (Love's Pursuit) sets her newest historical in Gilded Age New York, an opulent time and place when marrow spoons and exceedingly tight corsets were in vogue among the moneyed. The motherless Clara Carter is making her debut in society, and her aunt and her physician father expect her to win the hand of Franklin DeVries, the wealthiest catch of the season. Clara's best friend Lizzie is also aiming for DeVries, and Clara is caught between duty, friendship, and her own desires, which tend more toward Byron's poetry than bombazine hats. Mitchell's story is well researched, with fascinating details, and Clara is a complex character. The plot machinery creaks loudly at points: three overheard conversations is at least one too many. A social consciousness plot thread dealing with New York's slums is weak. But those who love historicals can have their fill as well as any debutante supping on oysters and clutching her filled dance card; Mitchell delivers the historical goods. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—The Gilded Age, in all its opulence, comes to life through Clara's eyes as she makes her debut into New York society in the 1890s. Molded primarily by her aunt, the 17-year-old begins her debutante preparation with much trepidation. The more rigorous the process becomes, the more disillusioned she becomes. She sees through the ambition of her fellow debs and their parents and witnesses the hypocrisy of her own wealthy family. They attend church every Sunday, but only to see and be seen. Mitchell ably transports readers to late-19th-century society, a place of extravagance and poverty. Clara's frustrations with her position are well realized. Clara does find an equal in a young man who actually listens to the sermon on Sunday, and he tells her that God loves her just as she is. The story itself plods along, getting mired down in the myriad parties and dress discussions. Despite these criticisms, teens will probably enjoy Clara's glittery world of romance. References to Christianity, such as hymns and traditions, are sprinkled throughout. For readers seeking an alternative to "The Clique" and "Gossip Girl" titles or those who enjoyed "The Luxe," this novel satisfies.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764204335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764204333
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (296 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #933,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

When I'm listening to a speaker and I'm taking notes, chances are, I've just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If I'm nodding my head in response to a really profound statement, I'm probably thinking, 'Yes. Right. That's exactly what my character needs to hear.'

When I'm editing my manuscripts, I laugh at the funny parts. And I cry at the sad parts.

Sometimes I even talk to my characters. 'Okay, Joe. Talk to me. Tell me what you're thinking here.' And yes, the characters answer me. I actually hear them talking in my head.

Half the time, I think I'm an okay writer. The other half, I'm tempted to take a magnet to the hard drive.

The easy part is writing. The hardest part is editing. The worst part is wondering if the books are going to sell.

I have plenty of ideas for books; the thing I lack is the time to write them. I write by the word. Other writers write by the page. However you want to tally it, 90,000 words is a lot of pages.

In the world of writing I have done nothing right. I wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before I signed with a publisher. And then I had to write a fifth book so that they could publish it. In the process, I saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry's than I care to admit. I vowed never to write another word again. Ever. I went on writing strikes and I even stooped to threatening my manuscripts with the shredder.

However. Here I am, over a dozen books into the process. And if you haven't heard the news yet, I'm also writing under the pseudonym Iris Anthony!

Learn more about me on the web at Learn more about Iris Anthony at

**author photo by Tim Coburn

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 95 people found the following review helpful By KJ Coffee on April 3, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading a HOST of mediocre Christian Fiction, Siri Mitchell has once again given me hope in the genre. After a litter of amish and pioneer subjects - Siri does not disappoint when it comes to historical fiction. And once more, her characters are multi-dimensional and interesting! They are not boring and predictable. Oh, Siri I could just HUG you for this book! Thank you!

Clara is a bright, intelligent woman who dreams of going to Vassar College. She lives with her wealthy, but distant and somewhat mysterious father and prickly aunt - an ambitious and socially-driven woman who is determined to help her niece marry the "catch of the ton" - Franklin de Vries. Clara is socially-anxious and is constantly concerned with what she should do and say. A welcome relief to her circle is Harold de Vries, the congenial younger brother. Her lifelong friend, Lizzie, is also a lifeline to her in this foreign land of intrigues and alterior motives.

The supporting characters are just as interesting! How did her father really earn his fortune? Were the de Vries really responsible for ruining the Carter fortune decades ago? Is a marriage between Franklin and Clara for revenge?

My ONLY regret is that I finished this book in one day and now there is no more! Siri Mitchell is a breath of fresh air in Christian Fiction. These characters are fresh, the storyline is unique and ingenuitive. And Siri is a genius. Do yourself a favor. Buy DON'T BORROW this book. You'll want to read it again.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By d burns on April 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm not a big fan of historical fiction, but I LOVED this book. Normally, I prefer Siri Mitchell's contemporary stories over the historical, but this grabbed me from the first page. The historical facts are blended nicely, giving an accurate lesson of what women and young girls went through to catch a husband. I really would love to see more of Clara - she's now one of my favorite book characters. Highly recommended, even for those readers that care little for historical fiction. Truthfully, I will read She Walks in Beauty a second time, something I rarely do.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Lawton on April 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
She Walks in Beauty is the compelling story of one girl as she faces the pressures of late Victorian mores and family expectations. This book is for anyone who's looked at the exquisite fashion, decadent parties, lavish balls and gentile manners of the Gilded Age and said, "I should have lived back then." It's eye-opening to discover how the fashion of the day molded society, both figuratively and literally. As an amateur fashion historian I have to say Mitchell gets it right. Her research is flawless. The juxtaposition of the glittering social season against the tenements of the Bowery and the political corruption of Tammany Hall gives the book depth. But more than that, it's a satisfying love story-- a story about discovering that we can be loved just as we are.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By LauraSF on August 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
After reading reviews about several of Siri Mitchell' books, I thought this one sounded most interesting, and it had good ratings. After finishing the book, I was completely stunned that it had good reviews by so many people. I typically finish a book in one sitting or as few as possible. This one took me many sittings to finish and wow... what a disappointment to get the end and realize that I had wasted my time.
The concept of the story itself was interesting... a smart young woman is forced to submit to the standards of beauty of the day, which were ridiculous and painful even, as well as to forego actual studies to instead study social graces... all so that she can win a rich heir and continue her affluent way of life. But her aunt was so extreme and overbearing that it wasn't even interesting anymore. She drove me crazy. The story was a circle of Clara and her best friend attending social events and trying to woo a rich heir.
It was a terrible romance, which is what I thought the book was in the first place. I love romance as written by Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Deanne Gist, and Tamera Alexander. This book was nothing like those so if you like the way that they approach romantic stories, you will NOT be happy with this book. Clara (the main character) ends up with her match without much exchange between the two at all really. One of the things I really detest when reading romance books is when the author writes of a misunderstanding between the two love interests that carries much of the story and doesn't resolve until the very end. That is exactly what happened here. Very annoying to me. And lastly, the tragedy that comes together toward the end was rather out of left field and didn't flow well with the book in my opinion. I can' recommend this book at all and have no plans to read any more books by this author.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie VINE VOICE on April 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

From the very first paragraph, Siri Mitchell had my full attention. I read She Walks in Beauty in two evenings. I could not stop reading it!

Clara Carter is pushed into the social season a year earlier than she expected. Aunt and Father have insisted that she must win only one man's hand, the De Vries heir. No other man will do. No other handsome catch will fix the breach of honor the Carter family has endured.

Clara has difficulty learning all of the rules of the social season. She doesn't understand what her father and Aunt have lost nor why love can't play a part in this high-stake game of marriage matching.

It all comes down to money...and secrets.

Will Clara risk true love and true honor to obey her family's wishes?

The historical references to Victorian high society behaviors fascinated me. Behaviors such as super-tight corset lacing with the ensuing health issues and the desire of debutantes to have the proper, "pouty" lip.

I'm not sure we've come all that far since that era!

Siri absolutely enchanted me in She Walks in Beauty. I loved Clara and how real she seemed. A young girl, thrust into a world she doesn't want or understand, and yet who has no reason to doubt her upbringing or family's confusing demands. It is what it is...isn't it?

She Walks in Beauty is the perfect blend of rich, historical detail and glittering jewels in the ballroom. Loved it!

Check out more book reviews on my blog: thecreativesideofsteph DOT blogspot DOT com
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