Gossamer Wings

Grace Woodruff is the eldest daughter in what could very well be one of the most dysfunctional families on the planet, or at least in Leeds, England in 1870. She’s overwhelmed by responsibilities keeping the family household running smoothly. Her life is near-total servitude to her sisters and abusive father. She wants nothing more than a little pleasure for herself. Some love, perhaps. Or a chance at a better life. After all, doesn’t everyone deserve to be happy? Grace’s chance comes at an unexpected point in time, a time when the already troubled Woodruff House is close to the boiling point. Class separation, marriages for financial gain and crossing the social standards are issues that come to the members of the Woodruff household in a loudly resounding manner. The question is, how will they deal with the upheaval? Especially Grace, who is torn between the love she remembers and the male admiration presently before her. Will either be enough to free her from the life she’s living?

Gossamer Wings is an awesome read. Anne Whitfield weaves a world that is so true to life I could hear the rumble of the carriage wheels. Grace’s unhappiness, her sense of responsibility and her determination to make the best of every situation thrown before her make for a truly admirable heroine. She is resoundingly realistic, as are her sisters and, unfortunately, her father. The story is told well and pulls the reader into the thick of things from the very first page. The secondary characters showcase the fact that families can be both good and bad, even behind the most highly polished doors. Gossamer Wings proves that one can never tell from the sidewalk what goes on inside someone else’s house!

I loved this story. It pulls every aspect of the time period into play and it happens in a tightly written, complex tale. I loved the way Grace tried to do all she could for her family, even to the point of sacrificing her own happiness. I loved, too, that she is true to her heart. This is a long story, but one that reaches a perfectly satisfying conclusion. I felt every anguishing moment, each small joy. Gossamer Wings is best read with a box of tissues nearby. I needed them, and I think others will, too. A superb tale that accurately paints a picture of a smart woman rising above her situation to find the best the world has to offer.

Reviewed by: Marlene