Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Proposal by Tasmina Perry

I only picked up this book because of the title.  The library reading challenge that I'm currently taking part in requires you two read two books with the same title and I had already read another with this name.

However, despite knowing nothing else about the book, I really ended up enjoying it - certainly not great literature but an easy interesting read.  It's part romance, part family drama, a little bit historical fiction.

The book starts in 2012 when Amy's wealthy boyfriend dumps her just before Christmas.  She is an American living in London with no family and is left to grieve alone.  She is also an aspiring dancer working as a waitress so has no money to visit her family in Queen's.

Fortuitously she sees an ad in a magazine asking for a companion to travel to New York over Christmas.  Drunk and sad, she answers the ad and meets with Georgia Hamilton, a 70 something British aristocrat and former publisher.  Georgia hires her for the trip and together they travel to Manhattan.

This story is interwoven with the story of Georgia's past which leads to the New York trip.  It starts in 1958 when she is part of the last group of debutantes to be presented to the Queen.  At that time she is living with her widowed mother, who is a struggling artist, so she must be presented to society by her aunt who comes from a more aristocratic background.  She is reluctant to participate, having just returned from finishing school in Paris and far more interested in a writing career than meeting a rich husband.

However, there are great scenes involving Georgia, her mother, aunt, uncle and cousins and the girls and boys she meets on the debutante circle.  Unfortunately she is ultimately betrayed by someone she loved, leading to a rather unhappy adulthood.

While somewhat fluffy, I did spend time thinking about this book after.  It said a lot about the perils of the class system and how the quest for money and status can make some people rather mean and vindictive.  But there were also wealthy characters who were fair and openhearted.  I felt rather sad for Georgia long after I closed the book.

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