Too much imagination was tantamount to lying―that’s what my grandmother taught me. So when I first got the sense that someone was following me, I ignored it. Who’d waste time following me?
Me, being Aurelia Kim Murray, a grad student from California with a passion for ballet and fencing, and a hopelessly romantic vision of the world. I had some to Europe to track down my grandparents’ families, but so far I’d had no luck.
I couldn’t explain the sense of urgency that drove me, even to myself. It has begun that day four months ago when my grandmother lay restlessly in her bed, her eyes glittering with fever as she gripped my hand. “Your mother is too gentle,” she’s whispered in her aristocratic Parisian French. “I cannot send her to steal the breach.” Breach? What breach? With her family? With my grandfather’s family? Neither Mom nor I knew anything about Grandmother’s family or the handsome man in the silver-framed photo that Gran always kept on her bedside table.
“She wouldn’t talk about her life before California,” my mom has said, as we waited in yet another specialist’s office, hoping to find out why, though Gran had recovered from her fever, she had not spoken since.
Nothing had come of my search in Paris, or Vienna, and no matter how fast I walked along the grand boulevards, I knew I couldn’t outpace my sense of failure.
And that’s when I met my first ghost.
But seeing ghosts wasn’t my biggest problem. I was being followed, and I was about to find out more about my lineage than I had ever imagined possible in my wildest, most fanciful dreams…or nightmares.
Mass Market Paperback
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I picked up Coronets and Steel at Barnes and Noble the other day, since I had a B&N gift card I'd been saving, and a desperate urge for a new book.
I finished it last night at 1 am, and the only reason I didn't finish it the night before (really, earlier that day) at 5 am was that I had had a really long day and my eyes were fuzzing out on me. As I paged toward the end I glared in horror at the meager five pages awaiting my greedy eyes. What do you mean there were only a few pages left? The story couldn't be over, could it? Luckily, there will be a sequel, which I am eagerly awaiting.
Coronets and Steel begins with a Kim, a new college graduate, searching through Europe for traces of her family history*. A vague memory of her mother's and a couple theater tickets have brought her to Vienna, where she resumes her quest in a genealogy office. Leaving the office, she sees her first ghost, though she doesn't know it at the time, who leads her into an encounter...
Only Sherwood Smith consistently writes YA books that I, being over 40, enjoy reading.
Again, here, a good intelligent story, cleverly plotted and creative good fast paced fun.
Additonally, and this is hard to do: The sense of place and history never missed, I live in Vienna and travel Europe a lot, also reading about history and economics. Here, all this is in the background, while an exciting, good story happens, and you read and read just for the plot and people, and yet - this book has a great sense of place and time, without ever boring and preaching, even a little, Ms Smith gives you a perfect view of the tensions and long reaches of a complicated history right in the middle of Europe, of Germans, Russians, Austrians, and centuries of powergames and wars - all that makes the choices of modern young people difficult. But Sherwood Smith never bores you, or tells you. She shows: Seeing how Kim learns and understands this was very good storytelling, wow! ( Like...
But I was very disappointed by this book. In my experience, Smith's characters are so accessible; I usually breathlessly read through her story, desperately waiting for characters to realize their true love. I love her style and love reading her novels.
However, this one lacked so much. I respect her as an author, so I will only list the basic problems I found to give another view for avid Smith fans:
-The slang that Kim uses can be grating. I'm embarrassed when she talks at points, and I'm surprised when people fall for her. I could feel Smith trying to bring Kim to life with her language, but it throws you off more than makes you like her.
-My personal biggest problem was with the conversation between Kim, the heroine, and the prospective love interest. I expected to feel so much tension when Kim and this individual interacted - I wanted to believe they cared for each other, but except for spending a lot of time together, I sensed a familiarity with...
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