Although it took me some time to get into this novel, I read it quickly once I really got absorbed in the story.
Book Title: Cartier's Hope by M.J. Rose
Category: Adult Fiction, 336 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Release date: January 28, 2020
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (for two slightly explicit but short sex scenes, topics of adultery and abortion)
Although it took me some time to get into this novel, I read it quickly once I really got absorbed in the story. There were several things I really liked about it. First off was the setting: 1910 New York, a time and place on the cusp of change. Vera Garland (even her name suits the time period) was a journalist passionate about exposing the injustices to women. I loved the suffrage aspect of the story. And, of course, there was the legend of the Hope Diamond interwoven throughout the novel.
Vera was mourning the loss of her father to whom she was very close. She didn't have a good relationship with her mother, and she needed to find her place in society. She was a feminist, a fighter, an intelligent woman who felt fragile after discovering a family secret. Bent on revenge, this led her into the arms of Jacob, a jeweler with a fascinating history.
M.J. Rose succeeds in bringing out the plight of women in different social contexts. However, I would have liked to have gotten to know the secondary characters better, such as Vera's journalist friends. Also, the story got bogged down with unecessary details that slowed the plot. I didn't always like Vera and her decisions, although I certainly admired her pluck and courage.
Overall, I enjoyed this historical fiction novel that explored journalism in the early 1900s to the topic of gems with all their beauty, flaws and power. Hope is explored in various ways throughout the story, both as reference to the famous cursed blue diamond and to the cheriched desire of what could happen, such as an older independant woman in the early 1900 finding love and women finding equality.
New York Times bestselling author M.J. Rose grew up in New York City exploring the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum and the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the founder of the first marketing company for authors, AuthorBuzz.com and cofounder of 1001DarkNights.com She lives in Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.