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Passion, redemption, and a battered suitcase full of secrets: the New York Times-bestselling author of A Hundred Summers returns with another engrossing tale. Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into Passion, redemption, and a battered suitcase full of secrets: the New York Times-bestselling author of A Hundred Summers returns with another engrossing tale. Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history. Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: for all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe’s fateful summer interrupts this delicate détente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel’s shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own. As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet’s story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad . . . and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future––and the love––she wants most.


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Passion, redemption, and a battered suitcase full of secrets: the New York Times-bestselling author of A Hundred Summers returns with another engrossing tale. Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into Passion, redemption, and a battered suitcase full of secrets: the New York Times-bestselling author of A Hundred Summers returns with another engrossing tale. Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history. Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: for all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe’s fateful summer interrupts this delicate détente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel’s shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own. As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet’s story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad . . . and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future––and the love––she wants most.

30 review for The Secret Life of Violet Grant

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I don’t normally read New York Times Bestsellers in the pulp fiction category. I’m normally a “literary fiction” type who occasionally dabbles in poetry and short stories. That is to say, I’m normally a book snob. During my year reading a 100 books I read some bestsellers and non-fiction, but even then I remained committed to my choice-genre. So when I discovered Beatriz Williams was a NYT bestseller of the pulp fiction variety, I began reading The Secret Life of Violet Grant with an arrogant de I don’t normally read New York Times Bestsellers in the pulp fiction category. I’m normally a “literary fiction” type who occasionally dabbles in poetry and short stories. That is to say, I’m normally a book snob. During my year reading a 100 books I read some bestsellers and non-fiction, but even then I remained committed to my choice-genre. So when I discovered Beatriz Williams was a NYT bestseller of the pulp fiction variety, I began reading The Secret Life of Violet Grant with an arrogant determination that it would be a “trashy” read. It’s a hard thing to admit, this book snobbery; a harder thing still to confess: I enjoyed, really enjoyed, The Secret Life of Violet Grant. Not just for its heady romance and historic atmosphere (though *blush* I did enjoy the heady romance), but for its exploration of what it means to be a fierce woman who both knows what she wants and is brave enough to demand it. The twinned chronology that follows the titular Violet Grant and her great-niece Vivian, offers two perspectives on fierce women. The plot of the novel turns on a mysterious suitcase that arrives in Vivian’s possession, belonging – she discovers – to her great-Aunt Violet, who is known, in family lore, to have murdered her husband and run off with her lover in the days before the outbreak of WW1. While Vivian investigates – in the 1960s – the circumstances of this supposed murder – all with the intention of returning the suitcase, if she can – she carries on her own tortured romance with a dashing, but complicated, Dr. Paul. It really does sound like a pulp mystery and romance. And in some ways it is: there’s intrigue, chapters that end with an echoing “dun dun dun,” there are violent encounters and dashed hopes, tearful reunions (of unexpected kinds) and, of course, comas. These dramatic elements, however, do more than make this an entirely enjoyable read (and they do that quite well), they also underpin the complex questions about what it means to be a woman, more importantly, what it means to be a fierce woman in a society that has expectations of passivity and subjugation. Of course these are not simply historical questions; and, like all good historical fiction, the novel lets the reader consider these questions in ahistorical ways. By having Violet and Vivian (their ‘V’ names are no accident) mirror one another in decisions, tricks of fate and personality types, the reader can’t help but hear the echoes of the 1914 and 1964 tales, respectively, in the contemporary moment. How do patriarchal institutions like marriage, the university/education, and inheritence limit not only what women can achieve, but what they can imagine as possible? When women do find ways to imagine alternatives, how do we collectively punish women for their desires when they step outside convention? How do we regulate what it means to be a woman in codes of dress, behaviour, interest and desire? This then is a question to ask myself: what is my expectation of my reading desires that I skirt an enjoyment of historical romance? We’ll save that question for another day, as I do believe The Secret life of Violet Grant is much more than simple historical romance: it’s an exploration of what it means to be a strong, smart, fierce woman. Kinda like me. Just saying.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    The Secret Life Of Violet Grant By Beatriz Williams What it's all about... Well...it's about a mysterious battered suitcase and what happens because of it. My thoughts after reading this book... Oh my goodness I had much love for this book. It had two awesome superstar heroines, lots of mystery, lots of banter, lots of cocktails, espionage, broken hearts and international travel! Plus did I say amazing lunches of tomato soup and grilled cheese and yummy breakfasts of Yuban coffee, bacon, scrambled egg The Secret Life Of Violet Grant By Beatriz Williams What it's all about... Well...it's about a mysterious battered suitcase and what happens because of it. My thoughts after reading this book... Oh my goodness I had much love for this book. It had two awesome superstar heroines, lots of mystery, lots of banter, lots of cocktails, espionage, broken hearts and international travel! Plus did I say amazing lunches of tomato soup and grilled cheese and yummy breakfasts of Yuban coffee, bacon, scrambled eggs and toast? Oh...lest I forget...cigarette smoking...inside buildings! Yes...it was that era! Vivian...gets a suitcase in the mail...the old fashioned antique kind of hard suitcase. It comes to her in a roundabout way. It is the beginning of her quest to find out about her Aunt Violet...who was accused of murdering her husband and disappearing with her boyfriend. One of the things that this book does best is alternate Vivian's story with Violet's story. What I loved best... I adored Vivian! She sparkled, she kidded, she was marvy! She came from money but was striking out on her own in NYC. Her relationship with Dr, Paul...frenetic, on and off...fun...heartbreaking! She really worked to find out what happened to Vivian. Vivian's story...the stuff movies are made from...married to an older raunchy lecherous adulterous husband until she finally dumps him...but with amazing repercussions. My ending thoughts for potential readers... Loved this book...it was fast, fluid and a lively romp! But...it was serious, too!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    4 Stars! The year is 1964. Vivian Schuyler, fresh from Bryn Mawr college, has defied her family's wishes for her future by finding work at Metropolitan magazine. She hopes to be a writer, but her editor dismisses her, making her good for nothing more than grabbing his coffe and checking the occasional fact. When an unexpected parcel arrives for her, it starts a journey into the life of an aunt that she never knew and a scandalous story to go with it...hopefully If she can uncover the full story, 4 Stars! The year is 1964. Vivian Schuyler, fresh from Bryn Mawr college, has defied her family's wishes for her future by finding work at Metropolitan magazine. She hopes to be a writer, but her editor dismisses her, making her good for nothing more than grabbing his coffe and checking the occasional fact. When an unexpected parcel arrives for her, it starts a journey into the life of an aunt that she never knew and a scandalous story to go with it...hopefully If she can uncover the full story, it'll jump start her career. Speaking of the unknown aunt...In 1912, Violet Schuyler moves to Europe to study physics and enters a disastrous marriage to her professor, Walter Grant. Upon moving to Berlin with her husband Violet meets a charismatic British army captain by the name of Lionel Richardson. As they fall into their own affair, the continent edges closer to the brink of war. Lionel has the power to either save Violet, or their affair could lead to disaster for her. Fifty years later, Violet's fate remains a mystery. The more obsessively Vivian investigates her disappearing aunt, the more she realizes all that they have in common. This is my third novel by Beatriz Williams and she has continued to impress me. Near the end of 2015, I read Along the Infinite Sea, which is actually the third novel concerning the three Schuyler sister's. This one, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, is the first. Because of me going out of order, I already knew how Vivian's romance played out, but I liked knowing the whole history of it. It was also nice to get a glimpse of Pepper before her story plays out. I also loved that she had her characters from A Hundred Summers related to the Schuylers, it was so great seeing how their life played out. I love when authors interconnect their stories like that and getting glimpses of how favorite characters from the past are doing. On a historical note, this is one of the first historical fictions I've read concerning the first World War. Most of the historical fiction I read concerns either before that time or the second World War. It was pretty interesting reading more about that time in the world's history, about the events that led to war being declared in Europe. This was a really good story, I really enjoyed the ending, how everything played out for both Violet and Vivian. Will be continuing on with the Schuylers story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katz Nancy from NJ

    I toyed with the idea of giving this book a one star rating but thought I'd be kind. I really disliked this book and don't think I'll read this title again. The premise was a good one. A young woman who yearns to be a journalist receives a valise from a name she doesn't recognize. From here the book takes on two different stories which are from the present and back to 1914. I found the modern day dialogue ridiculous as well as one of the main character's interest in a man she meets at the post of I toyed with the idea of giving this book a one star rating but thought I'd be kind. I really disliked this book and don't think I'll read this title again. The premise was a good one. A young woman who yearns to be a journalist receives a valise from a name she doesn't recognize. From here the book takes on two different stories which are from the present and back to 1914. I found the modern day dialogue ridiculous as well as one of the main character's interest in a man she meets at the post office. This character Vivian is so annoying I felt physically ill for the last 50 pages. In other words I couldn't wait to finish and ironically, I borrowed this book from the library.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    A suitcase full of secrets? A suitcase that opens up the proverbial can of worms which leads Vivian Schuyler to find out about her aunt who supposedly murdered her husband. Once Vivian found out some juicy details about her aunt, she couldn't stop researching her life. This could be her big break at the magazine with this story. THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT goes back and forth between Vivian's life and Aunt Violet's life. Are there parallels between their lives? Vivian wants to know about her a A suitcase full of secrets? A suitcase that opens up the proverbial can of worms which leads Vivian Schuyler to find out about her aunt who supposedly murdered her husband. Once Vivian found out some juicy details about her aunt, she couldn't stop researching her life. This could be her big break at the magazine with this story. THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT goes back and forth between Vivian's life and Aunt Violet's life. Are there parallels between their lives? Vivian wants to know about her aunt and this mysterious suitcase's contents that started it all. THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT is quite entertaining. Aunt Violet is definitely something else. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters....well most of them. ​ They range from Vivian's stuffy mother to her carefree self. Vivian is also a "modern" woman with a mind of her own and a heart that was broken.​ Professor Grant, Violet's husband, is a bit too controlling if you ask me and a poor excuse for a husband. Violet was a favorite. She was a self-made woman that knew what she wanted, but she also was ​a bit submissive as women were in the early 1900's. ​ ​THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT is thoroughly enjoyable and a book I couldn't put down because of the characters and because of the steps Vivian took to uncover the clues about her Aunt Violet.​ ​I have no qualms about recommending THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT. You will be entertained by the characters and will love the secrets of the suitcase and of Aunt Violet. Who would think a suitcase could cause all this excitement, intrigue, entertainment, and of course a fantastic story? LOVED this book. You will get caught up in all of ​Aunt Violet's and ​Vivian’s antics.​ ​ THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT is a truly ​delightful, witty read.​ ​The ending held a secret and surprise of its own. Ms. Williams is a marvelous storyteller. THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT is going to be one of my favorite reads of this year. 5/5 This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cameran

    DNF -- July 2014 Unfortunately this is the second Beatriz Williams book that has not gone over well with me. I wanted to like this story, and I was very intrigued by the synopsis and the beautiful cover. But my impressions of the characters evolved to such a point that I decided to abandon this book almost exactly at the halfway mark. Vivian, no matter how much I love her name, got on my nerves. I felt as if the attempt to make her this damaged woman who uses wit to protect herself was completely DNF -- July 2014 Unfortunately this is the second Beatriz Williams book that has not gone over well with me. I wanted to like this story, and I was very intrigued by the synopsis and the beautiful cover. But my impressions of the characters evolved to such a point that I decided to abandon this book almost exactly at the halfway mark. Vivian, no matter how much I love her name, got on my nerves. I felt as if the attempt to make her this damaged woman who uses wit to protect herself was completely over-the-top. Her dialogue was insufferable and the way she treated the woman who is supposed to be her best friend was the last straw for me, especially once Vivian continued to carry on with Doctor Paul after the reveal that her friend was dating him when Vivian met him and had been expecting a proposal from him. Doctor Paul also grated on my nerves with his talk of love after spending twelve hours with the woman. Was the sex really that wonderful? Could you be any more of a lust driven man? I did not buy their “love” and I was disgusted with them, so bye book! Violet’s life was far more interesting and I continue to be interested in the mystery of what happened to her, her husband, and her eventual lover, but I cannot put up with the Vivian chapters and the information that will be contained within them to get there. I’ll just read other reviews to get my answers. To be honest, Violet aggravated me too -- she is a woman with the strength to separate from her wealthy American family to travel to England in the year 1914 to pursue a career in science. But once she gets there she becomes a total doormat. Just blech! Not the book for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    MissSusie

    I so wanted to like this book, the description sounded like something I would really like but this one fell short for me. I won this book from librarything early reviewers but had a hard time getting into it so got the audio hoping it would be better but for over half of the book all I wanted was for it to be over. I love dual storylines in historical fiction and that was what I was expecting but this book is Romance, lots of sex (very descriptive) and once you get through that there is a little I so wanted to like this book, the description sounded like something I would really like but this one fell short for me. I won this book from librarything early reviewers but had a hard time getting into it so got the audio hoping it would be better but for over half of the book all I wanted was for it to be over. I love dual storylines in historical fiction and that was what I was expecting but this book is Romance, lots of sex (very descriptive) and once you get through that there is a little bit of a historical fiction storyline but not enough to save this one, IMHO. Also the characters are all pretty much unlikable and the whole stupid romance in the 1964 storyline is ridiculous they fell in love in 5 minutes?? Give me a break! This book may have been better served if it just told Violet’s storyline because Vivian was annoying and her whole storyline revolved around this convoluted romance with someone she met and supposedly fell in love with in an afternoon. Violet’s storyline started out strong then dwindled into idiocy, with many unbelievable things happening and I wanted more of the actual story of how …( no spoilers) than just the whole romance crap. And the ending was all tied up in a little bow that made me throw-up a little in mouth, it was so saccharine. Kathleen McInerney’s narration was very well done but couldn’t save me from wanting this book to end! I may be in the minority here, this book has gotten a lot of buzz but, don’t be fooled by the historical fiction moniker this is straight up romance and not a good one! 2 Stars (barely)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Hopping between pre-WW I Europe and 1960s New York City, The Secret Life of Violet Grant is snappy, easy-reading with a few twists.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    I read an excerpt of this in a magazine and was hooked on the plot so I ordered the book from the library. Once I started reading, I was sadly disappointed. While the plot is interesting and the characters are great, the book is overcome with worldliness. There is so much bad language, drinking, smoking and descriptions of sex that I could not continue reading.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Love. Intrigue. Deceit. Mystery. Honor -- Beatriz Williams has done it again with this tale of two strong convention-bucking women from the Schuyler family. The story is told from the point of view of two narrators -- Violet, who heads to Europe in the 1910s to pursue her passion for science while her peers head off to "finishing schools"; and Vivian, her great-niece, who doesn't want to settle for the "Mrs. degree" and stands ready to give up a chance a love for a chance at the journalism caree Love. Intrigue. Deceit. Mystery. Honor -- Beatriz Williams has done it again with this tale of two strong convention-bucking women from the Schuyler family. The story is told from the point of view of two narrators -- Violet, who heads to Europe in the 1910s to pursue her passion for science while her peers head off to "finishing schools"; and Vivian, her great-niece, who doesn't want to settle for the "Mrs. degree" and stands ready to give up a chance a love for a chance at the journalism career she's dreamed of. The book is full of witty banter, wonderful characters, and a fully satisfying ending.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jody McGrath

    Actually, I would rate it a 3 and 1/2 stars. It is two stories, told in alternating chapters, taking place in different times in history. Violet is a young and innocent American scientist studying in England in 1912ish. Her storyline is about illicit love affairs and the beginning of WWI. Vivian's storyline takes place in the 60s I believe (I can't remember now), and is also about a love affair, but it is also about her learning the existence of her Aunt Violet and trying to put together the piec Actually, I would rate it a 3 and 1/2 stars. It is two stories, told in alternating chapters, taking place in different times in history. Violet is a young and innocent American scientist studying in England in 1912ish. Her storyline is about illicit love affairs and the beginning of WWI. Vivian's storyline takes place in the 60s I believe (I can't remember now), and is also about a love affair, but it is also about her learning the existence of her Aunt Violet and trying to put together the pieces of her life. Amazingly, It all starts with a suitcase.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    This was a great story, alternating between two storylines ~ Violet (1914) and her great-niece, Vivian (1964). Part mystery/part romance, this is the first book in the Schuyler Sisters series and my first Beatriz Williams novel. I look forward to the other two and more of Williams' work. This was a great story, alternating between two storylines ~ Violet (1914) and her great-niece, Vivian (1964). Part mystery/part romance, this is the first book in the Schuyler Sisters series and my first Beatriz Williams novel. I look forward to the other two and more of Williams' work.

  13. 5 out of 5

    JudiAnne

    This novel has been referred to as a beach read. A beach read is not great literature and perhaps you wouldn’t want to put it on your bookshelf between, lets say, War and Peace and Oliver Twist. I know for sure when I pick up a book in this genre it’s going to be light, fluffy, and a lot of fun but not to be taken seriously and that is exactly the genre The Secret life of Violet Grant falls in. It served me very well being a lighter break, in between deeply serious novels and the absolutely perf This novel has been referred to as a beach read. A beach read is not great literature and perhaps you wouldn’t want to put it on your bookshelf between, lets say, War and Peace and Oliver Twist. I know for sure when I pick up a book in this genre it’s going to be light, fluffy, and a lot of fun but not to be taken seriously and that is exactly the genre The Secret life of Violet Grant falls in. It served me very well being a lighter break, in between deeply serious novels and the absolutely perfect writing style of Beatrix Williams created a delicious novel. She carefully weaves a story between 1964 NYC fun and a serious look at pre-WWI in 1914. Vivian with her outlandish behavior boldly takes the world by storm within her socialite family. As much as she tries to pull away and become independent she is constantly pulled back into her patrician family by her mother and aunt. When she meets Paul, the love of her life, they immediately fall madly in love. Soon their relationship starts to crumble and Vivian's life takes a turn for the worse. Vivian is surprised by the arrival of a package containing a mysterious battered suitcase that belonged to her great aunt Violet. She takes off to Europe to solve the mystery of the suitcase and disappearance of her great aunt. The story swings back fifty years to the shy and innocent Violet who is a young, promising scientist married to the formidable Dr. Grant, also a scientist. Soon Violet realizes she got more than she bargained for in this marriage and makes plans to flee. The twists and turns are many and filled with a romantic mix of fascinating intrigue and history. There is not a dull moment on any page!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

    I will not keep you in suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females. I adored this novel. Even though the combination of storylines, both historical (1910's) and contemporary (1960's) was brilliant, I was truly taken with the contemporary plotline much more. Heroine Vivian Schuyler receives a vintage suitcase from the past from her great aunt Violet Grant, the rich New York Schuyler family black sheep - sending her on a mission of discovery into her aunt's scandalous life as a sc I will not keep you in suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females. I adored this novel. Even though the combination of storylines, both historical (1910's) and contemporary (1960's) was brilliant, I was truly taken with the contemporary plotline much more. Heroine Vivian Schuyler receives a vintage suitcase from the past from her great aunt Violet Grant, the rich New York Schuyler family black sheep - sending her on a mission of discovery into her aunt's scandalous life as a scientist in England and Germany. The writing is fast-paced, and laugh at loud funny at times. I am certain that career girl Vivian is the love child of Hildy Johnson and Walter Burns from the 1940 Hollywood classic His Girl Friday. She is sharp as a whip and talented too boot. Williams' dialogue is as estimable as Jane Austen herself in the wit and social satire department. Vivian and her best friend Gogo read Cecilia by Fanny Burney and parallel Austen's siblings Elizabeth and Jane Bennet in personality as spunky heroine and her beautiful sister who just can't get to the altar. Vivian's beau Paul is no Mr. Darcy, but the romance does have a happy ending. I highly recommend this entertaining novel to those who love interwoven storylines from different eras featuring history, mystery, and romance. Laurel Ann, Austenprose

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Mcbroom

    What a disappointment! The premises sounded wonderful... set in the 1960's a young woman discovers her aunt Violet's secret suitcase of documents during World War II but the writing is horrible and the heroine just makes you want to put a spike in your head!!!! What a disappointment! The premises sounded wonderful... set in the 1960's a young woman discovers her aunt Violet's secret suitcase of documents during World War II but the writing is horrible and the heroine just makes you want to put a spike in your head!!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Nothing says summer reading like a big, thick pager turning novel that is enjoyable but not to provocative or complex. The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams fits those criteria and then some. Opening in 1964 when young Vivian Schuyler, recent Bryn Mawr graduate, has defied the wished of her privileged Fifth Avenue parents and taken a job and an apartment. Vivian is the very definition of a modern woman, not content to marry her way to her future she intends to live her life to the Nothing says summer reading like a big, thick pager turning novel that is enjoyable but not to provocative or complex. The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams fits those criteria and then some. Opening in 1964 when young Vivian Schuyler, recent Bryn Mawr graduate, has defied the wished of her privileged Fifth Avenue parents and taken a job and an apartment. Vivian is the very definition of a modern woman, not content to marry her way to her future she intends to live her life to the fullest. Hard dinking and fun loving Vivian is a force to be reckoned with; a young woman both attractive and whip smart. The arrival of a suitcase once belonging to her Aunt Violet, and Aunt that Vivian had no idea about and that has been wiped from the family record for decades spurs Vivian to find out everything she can about the mysterious Violet and her scandalous life. Violet, much like Vivian, left the confines of her wealthy family to pursue her dreams and her education. Berlin 1914 finds Violet a physicist, working alongside her decades older philandering husband Dr. Walter Grant, when a charming and somewhat dangerous former student of Grant’s, Lionel Richardson, arrives and awakens a passion inside Violet that she never knew existed. With Europe poised to go to war Dr. Grant is found shot dead in his apartment and Violet is never seen or heard from again. Determined to unearth the truth, Vivian begins a quest that will not only enlighten her to her aunt’s past but will also teacher much about freedom, desire, and self-reliance. Drawing on two tumultuous eras Williams has written a page turner with two very strong heroines that will completely enchanted readers. Fast paced and delightful, The Secret Life of Violet Grant just might be the perfect summer read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jamise

    Historical fiction, romance, war, murder, adultery unexpected twists and turns... the perfect ingredients for a fantastic read!! I truly enjoy how this author makes the characters relevant and relatable, you either love or hate them. I equally enjoy how characters from previous books make subtle but meaningful appearances. Beatriz Williams never disappoints!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emily Bourque

    Rating: 3.5 Stars Thoughts: There is nothing so wonderful as sitting on the beach with a Beatriz Williams paperback book. Salt in the air, sand in my bathing suit, and a book that can take a bit of water dropping on it. Beatriz Williams never fails to provide an excellent mix of history and intrigue with a killer love story and a family drama that keeps me entertained without ever getting too overwhelming. I've enjoyed everything she's ever written and I'll continue to read everything she writes. Rating: 3.5 Stars Thoughts: There is nothing so wonderful as sitting on the beach with a Beatriz Williams paperback book. Salt in the air, sand in my bathing suit, and a book that can take a bit of water dropping on it. Beatriz Williams never fails to provide an excellent mix of history and intrigue with a killer love story and a family drama that keeps me entertained without ever getting too overwhelming. I've enjoyed everything she's ever written and I'll continue to read everything she writes. The best part of this book was the sass and spirit of Vivian. As much as I enjoyed Violet's story, Vivian's character was so fun to read that I was actually laughing out loud and reading parts to my (not-so-willing-to-listen) husband. I enjoyed her storyline and Dr. Paul very much. Violet's storyline was also really cool, with the casual namedropping of Einstein and Planck. Her determination to be a scientist in 1914 was fun to read, even if it lead to Walter and that mess. All in all, this was a great historical fiction love story, and I had fun reading it. Who Should Read It: Anyone who enjoys historical romances. Anyone looking for a sassy character.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    What a story! The brown leather suitcase is the center of attention. It belonged to Vivians Aunt Violet, before WWI 1914 while she was in Germany. The story weaves it mystery back and forth from 1914 to 1964. There are twists and turns, then the great escape. Loved the book. I've read another book by Beatriz Williams, it was very good so I knew this one would be too. What a story! The brown leather suitcase is the center of attention. It belonged to Vivians Aunt Violet, before WWI 1914 while she was in Germany. The story weaves it mystery back and forth from 1914 to 1964. There are twists and turns, then the great escape. Loved the book. I've read another book by Beatriz Williams, it was very good so I knew this one would be too.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erika Robuck

    One hears so much about “voice” in fiction, and rarely is the power of voice more clear as it is in the work of Beatriz Williams. Yes, the plot is engrossing, the story fascinating, and the setting luminous, but the real draw of Williams’ novel is that feisty, zingy, pop-an-olive-into-your-mouth-from-your-martini-while-giving-the-gossip voice of the narrator, Vivian Schuyler. The reader will know after approximately 1.6 pages with Vivian that they will devour the next 400+ pages just to lean a l One hears so much about “voice” in fiction, and rarely is the power of voice more clear as it is in the work of Beatriz Williams. Yes, the plot is engrossing, the story fascinating, and the setting luminous, but the real draw of Williams’ novel is that feisty, zingy, pop-an-olive-into-your-mouth-from-your-martini-while-giving-the-gossip voice of the narrator, Vivian Schuyler. The reader will know after approximately 1.6 pages with Vivian that they will devour the next 400+ pages just to lean a little closer and hear Vivian deliver this tale. THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT begins in Manhattan, but takes the reader on a journey across the world, when Vivian seeks to find out what happened to her aunt Violet, who disappeared with her lover after her husband was murdered. In Williams’ capable hands, even basement laboratories and physics become sexy, and as the novel progresses it develops into quite a nail-biting thriller. The story lines in 1964 and in 1914 are every bit as engrossing as the other, and the suspense in both love and war make the book un-put-downable. Readers of Williams’ fabulous A HUNDRED SUMMERS will get a thrill, as family stories intersect here, and will be just as pleased with the finish of this book as they were with the last. Go and purchase a copy of THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT immediately, and place it on the top of your beach bag pile. You will not be sorry.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    As soon as I started reading The Secret Life of Violet Grant I knew I was going to love it. I immediately fell in love with Vivian Schuyler, she is a spunky independent women trying to make her own way in New York City in 1964 despite coming from a family of great wealth. One Saturday morning she is delivered a long lost suit case that once belonged to a great Aunt of hers, an Aunt she never knew about. Violet Schuyler is also a women of great independence, living in Europe in 1914 as a young sci As soon as I started reading The Secret Life of Violet Grant I knew I was going to love it. I immediately fell in love with Vivian Schuyler, she is a spunky independent women trying to make her own way in New York City in 1964 despite coming from a family of great wealth. One Saturday morning she is delivered a long lost suit case that once belonged to a great Aunt of hers, an Aunt she never knew about. Violet Schuyler is also a women of great independence, living in Europe in 1914 as a young scientist. She is seduced by one of her much older professors and quickly finds herself married to him and living a life she doesn't want. Until she meets and falls in love with another man and they both disappear the same night Violet's husband is murdered. Beatriz Williams does a fantastic job of sweeping her readers back to another time and place. I absolutely loved the suspense, the romance, the mystery of it all. I loved following Vivian's story as she worked to find out what really happened the summer of 1914 and what became of her Great Aunt Violet. As soon as a I read last the last page I wanted to start over from the beginning (reading the same book more than once is not something I normally do). If I didn't have a stack of books waiting to be read on my night stand I would be fully impressed in Violet and Vivian's stories all over again. I hope to hear more from them!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    The Secret Life of Violet Grant is a fabulous book. I have read several books by Beatriz Williams by now and so far has she always managed to come up with a plot that fascinates me and characters that I love to read about. Although with this book do I have to admit that the I was more interested in reading about Vivian Schuyler than of her aunt Violet Schuyler Grant. Well, at least at first, Violet's story becomes more interesting towards the end of the book. The Secret Life of Violet Grant is a fabulous book. I have read several books by Beatriz Williams by now and so far has she always managed to come up with a plot that fascinates me and characters that I love to read about. Although with this book do I have to admit that the I was more interested in reading about Vivian Schuyler than of her aunt Violet Schuyler Grant. Well, at least at first, Violet's story becomes more interesting towards the end of the book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)

    Vivian is the niece of a brilliant scientist named Violet who has quite an interesting past. She has never even heard of her Aunt Violet until a package shows up for her at a Manhattan post office. The package is Violet's old and once missing suitcase. When she asked her well-to-do family about Violet, they seemed to horrified by her scandal. She has been missing for about fifty years and has a dark past, which intrigues Vivian to no end as she is an aspriing journalist working for a New York Ci Vivian is the niece of a brilliant scientist named Violet who has quite an interesting past. She has never even heard of her Aunt Violet until a package shows up for her at a Manhattan post office. The package is Violet's old and once missing suitcase. When she asked her well-to-do family about Violet, they seemed to horrified by her scandal. She has been missing for about fifty years and has a dark past, which intrigues Vivian to no end as she is an aspriing journalist working for a New York City magazine hoping to get her big break. Also, a handsome doctor helps Vivian carry her package up the many flights of stairs in her New York apartment and they hit it off immediately. Luck seems to be on Vivian's side, because she has also convinced her boss that she should write the story of Violet after some research and the more she finds out about her aunt, the more she is completely enthralled with her adventerous life. Beatriz Williams writes captivating historical reads that shouldn't be missed. The Secret Life of Violet Grant is going on my "favorites" list. Read the rest of my review here: http://www.confessionsofabookaddict.c...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    This was an enjoyable summer read. I debated between 3 and 4 stars but decided on four stars because it definitely held my interest. I preferred Vivian over Violet though. Loved Vivian's tenacity, her sarcastic behavior, and wit. Violet was little boring and, maybe, a little too naïve. She let her sex-addict husband rule her world that's for sure. And speaking of sex....there was a lot of it. Nothing too graphic but it was there. Except there were some crude mentions of sex in one part of the bo This was an enjoyable summer read. I debated between 3 and 4 stars but decided on four stars because it definitely held my interest. I preferred Vivian over Violet though. Loved Vivian's tenacity, her sarcastic behavior, and wit. Violet was little boring and, maybe, a little too naïve. She let her sex-addict husband rule her world that's for sure. And speaking of sex....there was a lot of it. Nothing too graphic but it was there. Except there were some crude mentions of sex in one part of the book, just FYI. Enjoyed the overall story though.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ezinwanyi Chinyere

    IT wasn't bad but wasn't that entertaining. It was a two stories in one, one heroine in the past and the other heroine living in the current USA. Violet Grant was in the past and the other heroine Vivian Schuyler was the current narrator. Vivian writes a New York Magazine and she is reading the story about her grand aunt who was suspected of murdering her husband and running off with her lover. I did like the back and forth pace of the story but I most enjoyed the past with Violet. The narrator di IT wasn't bad but wasn't that entertaining. It was a two stories in one, one heroine in the past and the other heroine living in the current USA. Violet Grant was in the past and the other heroine Vivian Schuyler was the current narrator. Vivian writes a New York Magazine and she is reading the story about her grand aunt who was suspected of murdering her husband and running off with her lover. I did like the back and forth pace of the story but I most enjoyed the past with Violet. The narrator did a great job telling the story and making the character's personalities shine through.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    The Secret Life of Violet Grant was a 5 star plus read for me. It took a few chapters to build my interest, but when it did. the suspense and intrigue was nonstop from chapter to chapter. I equally loved both storylines - Violet's and Vivian's. Fully-developed characters, history, suspense, romance, a unique plot; this book has it all. I'm excited there are two more books following the Schuyler family also written by Beatriz Williams. The Secret Life of Violet Grant was a 5 star plus read for me. It took a few chapters to build my interest, but when it did. the suspense and intrigue was nonstop from chapter to chapter. I equally loved both storylines - Violet's and Vivian's. Fully-developed characters, history, suspense, romance, a unique plot; this book has it all. I'm excited there are two more books following the Schuyler family also written by Beatriz Williams.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    A generous, new-to-me-author but still what-was -I-thinking, 2 stars. Historical fiction is a risky genre for me. Like “contemporary fiction” it’s often a euphemism for something on the wide spectrum of romance-pulp-melodrama-sentimentality-contrived feel the feels, a whole spectrum of things that rarely, though not never, works for me. This one was so many things that simply aren’t for me that we are better off without me attempting to describe it. I’ll just say it was nothing of what I expecte A generous, new-to-me-author but still what-was -I-thinking, 2 stars. Historical fiction is a risky genre for me. Like “contemporary fiction” it’s often a euphemism for something on the wide spectrum of romance-pulp-melodrama-sentimentality-contrived feel the feels, a whole spectrum of things that rarely, though not never, works for me. This one was so many things that simply aren’t for me that we are better off without me attempting to describe it. I’ll just say it was nothing of what I expected, much less hoped, it would be.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Maxwell

    I loved this book. Everything about it. This author has become a favorite of mine, 1) because of her amazing story-telling talents and 2) her beautiful command of words. Her books never disappoint. I read this fast because I couldn't put it down, and now that it's finished I wish I'd read it slower, because I didn't want it to end. Two stories run parallel at different points in history, with two equally strong heroines, and after countless twists and turns the stories merged and I found both sa I loved this book. Everything about it. This author has become a favorite of mine, 1) because of her amazing story-telling talents and 2) her beautiful command of words. Her books never disappoint. I read this fast because I couldn't put it down, and now that it's finished I wish I'd read it slower, because I didn't want it to end. Two stories run parallel at different points in history, with two equally strong heroines, and after countless twists and turns the stories merged and I found both satisfyingly resolved. I heartily recommend this and any book by Beatriz Williams to any reader who enjoys detailed snapshots of history combined with honest analyses of the human spirit.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Kline

    This was an absolutely fabulous read - very similar to a Kate Morton (past/present) historical novel, but with an entirely different writing style and voice. I was absolutely captivated from page one, and looked forward every day to reading this. Vivian Schuyler, a modern day woman in 1964, receives a mysterious suitcase one day at her New York City apartment. It's been forwarded from her mother, but the original sender is anonymous. Through a bit of digging, Vivian discovers that this suitcase This was an absolutely fabulous read - very similar to a Kate Morton (past/present) historical novel, but with an entirely different writing style and voice. I was absolutely captivated from page one, and looked forward every day to reading this. Vivian Schuyler, a modern day woman in 1964, receives a mysterious suitcase one day at her New York City apartment. It's been forwarded from her mother, but the original sender is anonymous. Through a bit of digging, Vivian discovers that this suitcase had belonged to her Aunt Violet in the early 1900s, but why it's now fallen into her lap is a mystery. The story pans back and forth between 1964 and 1914, where we meet Violet. She's also a modern day woman, ahead of her time. An American, she wants to study at Oxford and become a scientist, and there she meets Professor Grant - renowned in his field and incredibly interested in her. What ensues becomes an illicit affair that will change the course of her life. There's not much detail I can go into, for fear of giving away too much of this wonderful story. Both Vivian and Violet have love affairs and romantic drama that keep the pace of both stories moving quickly (with plenty of twists and turns). This isn't a romance novel, of course, but there's enough of that to satisfy. It's a much deeper story - about trusting people, learning about oneself, and navigating a world on the brink of war. These two women, separated by decades, are more alike, and more connected, than either of them could know. I love this type of story.... absolutely love it. Both stories were fast-paced and engaging, and I really loved both women. Vivian's 'voice' as she told her story was fabulous, and actually had me laughing a time or two. This author is truly talented, and I can't wait to read more of her books. I'm so lucky that she has several! Highly, highly recommend if you like historical fiction about fascinating women.

  30. 4 out of 5

    BookishStitcher

    The vast majority of this two perspective historical fiction novel, I was bored and didn't really want to read it. I will say that the last 10 pages proved very interesting, but on reflection that wasn't enough to merit raising the star rating. This novel tells the story of two women one in 1913 and one in 1964. Their complex love lives and their struggle to advance their careers. The vast majority of this two perspective historical fiction novel, I was bored and didn't really want to read it. I will say that the last 10 pages proved very interesting, but on reflection that wasn't enough to merit raising the star rating. This novel tells the story of two women one in 1913 and one in 1964. Their complex love lives and their struggle to advance their careers.

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