The Secret Life of Violet Grant Book Review

The Secret Life of Violet Grant: Book Review by Arlene

4 stars


The Secret Life of Violet Grant Book Review





The Secret Life of Violet Grant Review


The Secret Life of Violet Grant is a romp alternating through time, witty and well-written. This novel, steeped in history and familial intrigue will keep you turning the pages and wanting more.

This novel parallels the lives of the two protagonists.

As the story unfolds it is 1964 and we meet Vivian Schuyler, a Bryn Mawr graduate, the daughter of a wealthy Fifth Avenue family who works at the Metropolitan Magazine trying to find her place as a journalist and is willing to put her career on the line to achieve her goals.

The novel then turns back to 1914 where we meet Vivian’s great aunt Violet Schuyler. Violet is a scientist of atomic physics, smart beyond her years, intelligent, brave, although naive in the ways of the heart.

We then go to 1911 and Violet, at age 19, meets Oxford professor Walter Grant, the noted physical chemist who gives her a job at his institute after she has been before rejected. Walter is smitten by her beauty, intelligence and innocence.

Professor Walter Grant and Violet become lovers, involved in a sexual romantic relationship and eventually get married.  Here is where the real Walter comes to the surface…how far he is willing to go to get everything he wants and needs. Violet soon finds herself trapped in an unhappy marriage.

Now with that background in check, Beatriz Williams parallels the lives of these 2 women chapter by chapter. It is 1914 for Violet and World War 1 is looming and it is 1964 for Vivian on the brink of a new career. This is a story of spies, double agents and killers attempting to change the course of history at the onset of World War 1.

Vivian receives a mysterious suitcase that once belonged to her scandalous Aunt Violet, rumored to have murdered her husband, Walter Grant in 1914 and then runs off with her lover, Lionel Richardson, her husband’s protégé.

Her Aunt Violet has mysteriously disappeared and has been missing for 50 years and Vivian is determined discover the truth. She is given the chance to investigate this mystery and write about it in the Metropolitan Magazine.

This becomes her full focus at her job and a golden opportunity for her to see her dream job come to fruition. She is given access to the magazines confidential files.

In addition to all this going on she is now developing a romantic, sexual relationship to Doctor Paul, as she calls him, the guy who she met at the post office as she was picking up the mysterious suitcase that belonged to her great Aunt Violet. She falls hard and fast for him only to have a love-hate relationship develop along the way.

When Vivian examines the contents of the suitcase, she discovers various pieces of information which proves a love affair between Violet and an Englishman, documents belonging to an American woman and her son and a journal written by Violet’s husband listing his sexual encounters.

Vivian becomes concerned that the trail of information in the United States has become dry and travels to London to continue her search for the truth. Her quest comes to a close as she sorts the final piece of the puzzle together and resolves the longstanding mystery on Violet’s disappearance and the addition of a young British Army Captain completes the story line so much more than anyone could anticipate.


The Secret Life of Violet Grant Recommendation


This novel has it all, mystery, murder, intrigue, spies, cheating lovers, chaos, hot romance and of course Violet and Vivian!!

I think you will find the author’s technique of using alternate chapters to rotate the story line to be very effective in plotting the novel.

I do not think you will be disappointed!


If you enjoyed The Secret Life of Violet Grant Book Review, please buy: The Secret Life of Violet Grant book. Or listen to it free with Audible trial.


Please join us in our conversation in The Secret Life of Violet Grant Book Club Questions or leave a comment below.

18 thoughts on “The Secret Life of Violet Grant Book Review

  1. This was a brilliant review on a very interesting novel. You painted the story in such vivid detail, I felt as though I was actually reading what the author wrote, and yet you didn’t put in any spoilers in your critique…bravo! I will definitely be back for more recommendations for my reading list!

    1. Hello JChrisA!
      We are happy to know you are enjoying our reviews. We are really trying to give our viewers honest opinions on the books we have chosen.

      We are looking forward to hearing your views again on our choices for 2016.

      Thanks again and we hope you visit again often!

    1. Hi Lori,
      Thank you for your complimentary comments. I like your term bookies.
      Sharing books we have read and hearing back from our readers is how this book club got started.

      We hope to hear from you again!

  2. This book sounds exciting, I’ll be honest always been in my current “year” kind of books, I am getting a bit bored, so I might give this a go. You cant beat love, murder and mystery no matter what time period it is set in.

    1. Hi Steven,
      Thanks for your comments.

      Love, murder, mystery, yes this novel has it all. It may not be for everybody but it had interesting plot lines and humor along the way when Vivian stepped in. Right now, I am watching the movie The Dead Poet’s Society with Robin Williams. I had never watched this movie and am now this moment thinking the book must have been great too.

      So, going back to books, not in the right now , can be worth it. I will definitely be picking up the book The Dead Poet’s Society.

  3. Haha, as I read the review, I was just thinking “Wow actually has everything”. You just affirmed my thoughts at the end. This is a well thought out book review.
    Also, I really enjoy romance stories with a deep plot, and this book has a plot spanning multiple generations almost like time travel. I’m interested 🙂

    1. Hello Canaan,
      It was very nice to see that you enjoyed my review of The Secret Life Of Violet Grant. If you are looking for an enjoyable read with interesting plot lines and a variety of unique characters spanning a 50 year timeline and a fast page turning pace I think you would enjoy this one.

      Please check back in as we would be happy to hear your opinion.

  4. I enjoyed the review very much, you certainly make the book seem intriguing enough to pick up. I’m glad you mentioned you liked the author’s technique of switching back and forth between time periods. It can, absolutely, make a story that much more interesting. However if done poorly, it leaves you totally confused, which has happened with other books I’ve read that have flipped through time. I’m willing to give this style another go!

    1. Hello Hindy,
      I enjoy reading your comments on our book club choices. You will find this author’s technique of rotating back and forth between the two main characters time periods to be very easy to follow and the choices they make in their individual lives bring them together at the end of the story in a very and interesting and unexpected way. I do hope you agree after reading The Secret Life Of Violet Grant.

      Please stop by again!

  5. Hello,

    Your website is well organized and I really like the picture you have at the top of the website showing the books. That is a nice eye catcher.

    I personally would like more of your opinion on the novel. Was there anything you did not like about it?

    The book synopsis was very descriptive and the writing flowed nicely.


    1. Hi Erin,
      Thanks for your positive comments. My personal opinion on this novel is that it was a very interesting plot and very well written so as not to lose the reader’s interest. I found it to be a page turner up until the end. Honestly, there was not a single thing I did not like about this novel. When I chose this for our book club I was looking for an enjoyable book with an interesting story and unique characters. It was a perfect choice for me during the holiday rush – to have a book I could transition to after a day of holiday preparation. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Nice! Enjoyed the review. I love a good book that is witty and well written. Definitely going to keep it on my to read list!
    This book seems to have lots of romance and sex in it, am I right?

    1. Hi Amanda,
      So nice to hear from you and thanks for your comments. When I was searching out a new selection for our book club I was looking for a fun book that also told a great story. The Secret Life Of Violet Grant, in my opinion is that book. Yes, it is full of romance and sex and intrigue up until the last page. Very enjoyable!

  7. Hi

    What a beautiful review you have written here. Seems to be a good book to read and something to add to my list of books to read this 2016. Looking forward to more reviews on your website.

    1. Hello Uwais,
      Thank you for your positive comments. We hope we can inspire you to read any of our selections that interest you.

      Please visit again!

  8. I love a book that give a background of a character by giving the story of their family members. I think The Secret Life of Violet Grant would be a good read as I am passionate for history so I will keep this in my to read list. I’m almost done with a book I’m reading and I was looking for something that would spark my interest when I finished it, so thank you. Any other suggestions?

    1. Hello Eliezer,
      Thank you for your comments. This novel is certainly a take on family relations and how they affect our lives and the decisions we make. I can offer some other books that might spark your interest – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urea.

      Keep on reading!!

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