Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.
Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.
When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.
But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…
You know those books that you are super excited about? Then you start to read it and it seems like it is all going great, but then it just plateaus? Well that is what happened here. This book is not a paranormal. I would call it somewhere between fantasy and historical fiction. The names of all the places and larger than life figures are different. For example, the concept of “God” has a different name, in the story they call their higher power, Usos. But they have Kings and Queens, Princess and Princes, Counts and Countesses. They have far off lands that seem savage like and aristocratic areas where everyone follows specific rules.
Our female protagonist, Lady Elizabeth Witmore, The Countess of Rothford, is in dire need of a husband. Someone that can help her get out of the money problems that her deceased parents have left on her. She is a countesses in her own right, but at the age of 17, isn’t allowed to truly making any choices on her own. With the guide of her grandmother, he is in search of a man with some wealth attracted to him; but no one is up to par for her.
When her grandmother arranges a union with a baron, he knew there was no one she could go through with it. As faith would have it, we are then introduced to our male protagonist, Cedric. He is dashing and handsome and could, “sell salvation to a priest.” He comes to inform one of the house maidens of the Glittering Court and all the opportunities it can provide to a woman in her situation. The countesses see this as her opportunity to escape. And so our story begins.
The story to me is about a young woman trying to find her own voice in the world. Elizabeth goes under alas as, Adelaide. No one knows of who she truly is except Cedric. She meets two other young woman that are entering into the Glittering Court with her. Tasmain and Mira.
Somethings I noticed about this story. There is a lot of prejudice and racism. If you are a history person, the story will seem familiar in the since – people coming to a new world for religious freedom. The prejudice is towards Mira. She is of dark complexion and everyone treats her so bad. The only people that are kind to her are Elizabeth, Cedirc and (eventually) Tasmain.
I REALLY wanted to like this story, but I was able to skip parts and still be fine. I feel like it should just have been an historical romance or more steampunk. Positive note, the chemistry between Cedric and Elizabeth is hot. You can tell they want to be with each other, but are holding back because of circumstances and obligations. One thing that this story mentioned a great deal was sacrifices. Sacrificing comfortable living for wilderness survival. Sacrificing wealth for passion. Sacrificing love for security and duty. Everyone in the story has something they are sacrificing in some form.
Now, the story of Elizabeth ends, but Ms. Mead leaves us hanging off a cliff in regards to Mira and Tasmain. We are not sure what exactly is going on in their personal lives, but it is insinuated a great deal that there is secrets we do not know about.