“Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton #1)” by Leila Rasheed
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
One house, two worlds…
Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies’ maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can’t help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada.
For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada’s beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family’s honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name-but it would mean giving up her one true love … someone she could never persuade her father to accept.
Sumptuous and enticing, the first novel in the At Somerton series introduces two worlds, utterly different yet entangled, where ruthless ambition, forbidden attraction, and unspoken dreams are hidden behind dutiful smiles and glittering jewels. All those secrets are waiting … at Somerton.
I found this book popping up online for Read-a-likes for Downton Abbey. I’ve been devouring the show the past few months so I was hungry for some more Period drama. For the most part the book delivered the drama I was looking for. I got ladies, the stress of marrying well, servants, and everything in between.
Some of the drama felt heavily inspired by Downton Abbey: a conniving ladies’ maid and a”forbidden love” of a valet. I was pleased to see the book bringing new storylines and ideas to the table. I appreciated that Ada was intelligent and wanted nothing more than to go to Oxford. Rose was a genuinely good character. She only wanted to do right by the family and didn’t stoop to terrible things to better her life. Drama certainly makes for an interesting story but it felt a bit heavy in this story.
There were too many things going on in the story. Many of the characters felt shallow and a bit flat. It was hard to explore anyone and their stories too in-depth because of how little time we spent with them. As a result, I enjoyed the story okay but it didn’t step up to the standard I was hoping for.
The bottom line? Fun read if you’re interested in fluffy drama.