Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review: Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed


My Thoughts

Cinders & Sapphires is an English Estate drama following the family and staff of the Somerton Estate set in 1910 England. Within the pages you will find yourself whisked away to another time and place, wrapped up in the intricacies and lives of both the “upstairs” (high society) and “downstairs” world. Find yourself entangled in their dreams, schemes, scandals, and dramas.

This was a very fun, easy, and light read. This would be a perfect fit for fans of Downton Abbey, and YA historical dramas and romances. The story had allusions to Cinderella, and was definitely reminiscent of Downton Abbey. Personally, I am a huge fan of period dramas (and of Downton Abbey!), so when I saw a Young Adult historical drama that sounded Downton Abbey-esque I was in! I definitely enjoyed this one very much, I read it in a day, and I found it to be a quick, refreshing, and easy read. I also found that it helped with my Downton withdrawals. I loved the whole premise of the upstairs/downstairs, the estate politics, the manners, etiquette and values of the time, and the looming threat of the ever-changing modern world infringing on all they know.

For me, feeling as though I’m being transported to another time and place always makes a book more enjoyable. I found myself, wrapped up in the drama and intrigue of the book. I loved that you got to meet so many characters, and that you were able to get some depth and fleshing out of a fair few. I enjoyed that the main heroines had forward-thinking, unusual dreams (for the time). I also enjoyed the references to actual issues of the time: the Indian Independence Movement, British Imperial Rule in India, Women’s Suffrage, Women’s Education, etc. These kinds of things always keep me interested and add some nice historical tension and authenticity. They also make me want to go read more about the events so I better understand the history.

I did get a hint of insta-love (which is not something I like to see in a read), although on further reflection it did kind of fit with the time and courtship/romance beliefs. I will also say that at the beginning it did jump around a bit and seemed to switch viewpoints suddenly, but as I got to understand the characters this wasn’t an issue any more.

Overall, I found this a truly enjoyable read, and I honestly cannot wait to start the second one. I would definitely recommend this one as a fun, light period piece romance – or to help fill the Downton void for you Downton fans.


If you enjoyed this book and are looking for more Historical Drama-esque reads try:

The American Heiress – Daisy Goodwin
Ruby Red – Kerstin Gier
Keeping the Castle – Patrice Kindl
The Hawk and the Jewel – Lori Wick


 4 out of 5 Doxies* –   Liked it a lot, definitely worth a read!

*I debated my rating on this one for a bit, going back and forth between a 3 or 4 Doxie rating. However, after weighing it out, for the genre, age, and type of read it was – it really made me happy overall. Also, I went and bought the second one as soon as I finished, which made me decide I’d give it a 4. J

 Tale of Two Doxies

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