I have read three of author Beatriz William’s books that feature the daughters of the Schuyler family. In each of these novels, one of the sisters comes forth as the main character and moves the tale of this complex family along. The supporting cast in each of the books is equally well drawn. I love this author. In fact, when a quotation on the back cover of The Secret Life of Violet Grant suggests this novel is a good beach book, I was highly offended believing that a beach read is supposed to be frivolous. Ms. William’s writing is much more than a beach book suggests; she is a fine writer who is a consummate story-teller providing historical details that are well researched and enrich each book.
“The Secret Life of Violet Grant,” begins in 1964 with college graduate Vivian Schuyler working to become a writer at a popular magazine. One day she receives a battered suitcase that belonged to her Great Aunt Violet Grant who disappeared in Germany in 1914 and was thought to have killed her husband and ran off with her lover. Or did she? Need I say more to peak your curiosity?
Along The Infinite Sea: In the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler’s needs to take care of herself and the baby she carries—the result of an affair with a married, legendary politician. She discovers a rare vintage Mercedes and is involved with its restoration where she sells it at auction. The car’s new owner, Annabelle Dommerich, has her own secrets: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, a flight from Europe, and a love so profound it transcends decades. As the many threads of Annabelle’s life before the Second World War stretch out to entangle Pepper in 1960s America, and the father of her unborn baby tracks her down to a remote town in coastal Georgia, the two women must come together to face down the shadows of their complicated pasts.
In “Little Tiny Thing,” “Tiny” Schuyler is married to a politician on the rise. She spends the summer of 1966 at her husband Frank’s family summer compound with her mother-in-law, who rules the roost, a father-in-law who is determined that his son will be president, and various other relatives. Two weeks before Tiny marries Frank, she meets a man at a diner and, after a violent holdup takes place, she and this mystery man became more than friends.
Beatrix Williams has created a world in which the Schuyler family connects us with a past when women were expected to marry, raise a family, and support a husband’s career. Here is what happens to a few of these women who have a problem with that script.