M.J. Rose comes to the blog today with a mash-up of Historic Fiction and Mystery, set in the Jazz Age. Please read on for my review of
Laurelton Hall was an artist’s colony created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the 1920’s, and this story revolves around a fictional account of one of the dozen or so artists invited to the colony to create, share and improve their skills. Jenny Bell, a young artist with a troubled and mysterious past has talent, skill, determination and plenty of focus, hoping to save money to go to Paris to learn more. She’s also wanting to avoid the “publicity’ end of the artist’s life, preferring anonymity to fame as she works her way through each new project. A person who hears in color yet paints in black and grey, she is the cornerstone of the story. Her roommate Minx, is a wealthy socialite and a talented painter and sculptor. Her own connections have brought her notice, and it is her submission of Jenny’s work that gets them both to Laurelton.
Oliver is LCT’s grandson, and enamored with Jenny. She’s trying to focus on her work and learning, but the intrigue of Oliver, and her developing attraction also lead her to share more of her past with him than anyone before. None of her early life was as easy as Oliver’s or Minx’s, and her tormentor, and the reason she seeks to stay in the shadows is omnipresent. While Oliver represents a new opportunity, and the chance for all of us to understand her attitude toward fame, it also means that in his position (and power) with that family name, even while keeping her safe, also creates a divide in their relationship that will not allow a future of equals.
Intriguing after a considerably slow start, it takes some time for the characters, or the beauty of Rose’s descriptions and settings start to engage. It’s also important to note that the book truly seems to shift focus as it progresses – early on (and in the slow-go background information) the book feels very much like a more traditional historic fiction, soon to focus more on the romance between Jenny and Oliver, and then as that is establishing itself, the mystery and challenges come into play. I don’t know if a clearer composition of the three elements, where they didn’t feel quite so distinct would have improved or mired the flow, but it does bear mentioning that I felt it also ‘read’ differently – slower at the beginning to rushing through to the end and solution of the mystery.
An intriguing and beautifully described title, it was an interesting read and one that encourages me to discover more about Laurelton Hall and the artists who spent time there.
Title: Tiffany Blues
Author: M.J. Rose
Genre: Historical Fiction, Jazz Age, Mystery Elements, Romantic Elements, Setting: American
Published by: Atria Books
Published on: 7 August, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 25 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible
New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.
But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.
As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.
Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.