A crusading Gilded Age journalist makes a soul connection with a jeweler, who unwittingly helps her leverage the mystique of the Hope Diamond as she fights for justice.
New York heiress Vera Garland has a secret: She’s also the popular female journalist Vee Swann, a secret identity she maintains through a no-nonsense disguise and backstory that depends on her living in a significantly less upscale part of town than her family. She feels it’s necessary to stay in touch with the stories of the day, especially those that deal with tenements, immigrants, and the struggles of the less privileged, including working women. Her mother disapproves of her work, so Vera depends on the love and approval of her father, Granville Garland, owner of a Fifth Avenue emporium. Going undercover in a tenement, Vee befriends a young neighbor, but when the girl falls ill and Vee offers to pay for a doctor, the child’s drunk, enraged father throws her down a stairway. Severely injured and emotionally wounded by the child’s death, Vera moves into the beautiful Tiffany-designed penthouse apartment above her father's store. She is just beginning to feel herself again when her father dies from a heart attack. Vera inherits the apartment and, in clearing out his things, discovers a letter that makes her realize her father had deep secrets, including a love affair with a man that predated his marriage. She suspects he died of a broken heart since his lover committed suicide to protect them both from a blackmailer. Meanwhile, the Hope Diamond has come to New York, residing in Cartier’s Fifth Avenue shop. Vera suspects Cartier is playing up the jewel's dramatic history to try to increase its value. She effects an accidental meeting with Jacob Asher, an enigmatic jeweler whose renowned family was decimated in the Russian pogroms and who now works with Cartier. When the two become close, she blurs the lines between her professional and personal lives, gaining information from their relationship that reflects badly on Cartier in order to expose her father's extortionist. When justice is served, however, Vera must decide what she’s willing to fight for in her personal life. Rose’s newest title is complex and compelling, with many threads of history, plot, and character that weave together into a bold, satisfying tapestry. Along the way, she touches on issues society still faces: power, privilege, anti-Semitism, women’s sexual, social, and professional rights, and the never-ending struggle for tolerance and equality.
Smart, fierce, lovely, and intricate.