Book Review: The Way of Beauty

THE WAY OF BEAUTY | Camille Di Maio
05.01.2018 | Lake Union Publishing
Rating: 5/5 stars

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Turn-of-the-century New York City is the home of many immigrant families trying to make it on their own in a bustling city that doesn’t always look out for the average person. Vera Keller is the daughter of one of those immigrant families and grows up watching her parents try to make ends meet by digging train tunnels and working long hours in poorly manned factories. When her mother dies she meets Angelo, an older boy working at his father’s newsstand, whom she becomes best friends with. It is not until Angelo becomes engaged to a woman named Pearl that Vera realizes her true feelings for Angelo. Pearl is the exact opposite of Angelo and Vera. She is the daughter of a wealthy clothing manufacturer and has never wanted for anything. Despite having everything money can by, Pearl is not jaded by her wealth and actively participates in the Suffrage Movement. Pearl’s passion for this work takes her away from Angelo and her young son from a previous marriage. As Vera plays nanny to this child, she finds herself growing closer to Angelo and the life she’s always wanted is within her grasp.

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Our winkles tell our story, etched out like a road map. That’s the way of beauty.

Vera’s life and the decisions she makes through the years have played a huge role in the future of her daughter, Alice. Despite being a generation apart and growing up in vastly different versions of New York, these two women have much more in common than they could ever know. Alice is every ounce as passionate about life as her mother was at the same age and she soon finds herself in a battle of the heart as well. Will Vera and Alice make decisions that bring them joy or will they suffer immense heartache along the way?

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Passion and love are not synonymous, as the world would have you believe. Love is honesty, loyalty, and putting the other first.

Driven by passion and love the coming of age stories of Vera and Alice unravel on the pages of THE WAY OF BEAUTY through elegant prose and vivid descriptions that truly transport the reader to New York through the years. Part one of the novel focuses on Vera and the events of her life that have brought her to be a mother to Alice. In part two we continue to see glimpses of Vera’s life, but the story shifts to focus on Alice at the same age as her mother in part one. Initially when the book flipped over to part two I was heartbroken to be away from Vera after growing so attached to her in the first half of the novel, but once Alice’s story started to build steam, I was over the moon with the direction of the book. Alice is every bit as determined as Vera and while love is the dominating overtone to the book, the reader is gifted with the unique ways love can impact a person through the split in focus.

A few years ago I was an avid reader of historical fiction, but fell off the bandwagon somewhere along the way. Camille Di Maio’s THE WAY OF BEAUTY reminded me of all the reasons I love historical fiction. The ease of her writing had me swept away to New York and walking beside Vera and Alice through their lives. THE WAY OF BEAUTY is truly a magic book that I would recommend to die-hard historical fiction fans and newbies alike.

A special thank you to Lori over at GetRedPR, Lake Union Publishing, and Camille Di Maio for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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