In 1923, Vera Bellington is married to a wealthy, handsome man who doesn\’t love her. They live in a spectacular building on Park Avenue that he built. Her only social contacts are the people who live in that building, The Angelus, and her weekly lunches with her difficult mother. For her entire life, everything has been planned for Vera. She is expected to marry well and endure the social restraints that society had for young women in the 1920’s. The story goes back and forth between 1913 when Vera was a student at Vassar college studying Art History and 1923 when she is married and lonely. While she was at Vassar, she had a falling out with a free spirited friend named Bea, who was a talented artist. After they got into some trouble, Vera land Bea become estranged, but Bea later comes back into her life in an unexpected way. When the residents of The Angelus hire a French painter named Emil Hallan to paint a mural in their pool room, Vera’s life will be changed forever.
Emil taps into Vera’s soul but he is not who he seems to be and secrets will be revealed. The title of the book has more than one meaning. Vera has to make some difficult choices to save herself from her lonely, unhappy life and the unexpected ending was a surprise for me. Well done historical fiction.
Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for providing me with and Advanced Reading Copy of this book. It will be published on May 3rd, 2016.