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The Secret Life of Violet Grant

(Schuyler Sisters #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  27,996 ratings  ·  2,710 reviews
Passion, redemption, and a battered suitcase full of secrets: the New York Times-bestselling author of A Hundred Summers returns with another engrossing tale.

Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  27,996 ratings  ·  2,710 reviews

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May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I don’t normally read New York Times Bestsellers in the pulp fiction category. I’m normally a “literary fiction” type who occasionally dabbles in poetry and short stories. That is to say, I’m normally a book snob. During my year reading a 100 books I read some bestsellers and non-fiction, but even then I remained committed to my choice-genre. So when I discovered Beatriz Williams was a NYT bestseller of the pulp fiction variety, I began reading The Secret Life of Violet Grant with an arrogant de ...more
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Secret Life Of Violet Grant
Beatriz Williams

What it's all about...'s about a mysterious battered suitcase and what happens because of it.

My thoughts after reading this book...

Oh my goodness I had much love for this book. It had two awesome superstar heroines, lots of mystery, lots of banter, lots of cocktails, espionage, broken hearts and international travel! Plus did I say amazing lunches of tomato soup and grilled cheese and yummy breakfasts of Yuban coffee, bacon, scrambled egg
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
4 Stars!

The year is 1964. Vivian Schuyler, fresh from Bryn Mawr college, has defied her family's wishes for her future by finding work at Metropolitan magazine. She hopes to be a writer, but her editor dismisses her, making her good for nothing more than grabbing his coffe and checking the occasional fact. When an unexpected parcel arrives for her, it starts a journey into the life of an aunt that she never knew and a scandalous story to go with it...hopefully If she can uncover the full story,
Katz Nancy from NJ
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
I toyed with the idea of giving this book a one star rating but thought I'd be kind. I really disliked this book and don't think I'll read this title again. The premise was a good one. A young woman who yearns to be a journalist receives a valise from a name she doesn't recognize. From here the book takes on two different stories which are from the present and back to 1914.
I found the modern day dialogue ridiculous as well as one of the main character's interest in a man she meets at the post of
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A suitcase full of secrets? A suitcase that opens up the proverbial can of worms which leads Vivian Schuyler to find out about her aunt who supposedly murdered her husband.

Once Vivian found out some juicy details about her aunt, she couldn't stop researching her life. This could be her big break at the magazine with this story.

THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT goes back and forth between Vivian's life and Aunt Violet's life. Are there parallels between their lives? Vivian wants to know about her a
Jul 03, 2014 added it
Shelves: did-not-finish
DNF -- July 2014

Unfortunately this is the second Beatriz Williams book that has not gone over well with me. I wanted to like this story, and I was very intrigued by the synopsis and the beautiful cover. But my impressions of the characters evolved to such a point that I decided to abandon this book almost exactly at the halfway mark.

Vivian, no matter how much I love her name, got on my nerves. I felt as if the attempt to make her this damaged woman who uses wit to protect herself was completely
I so wanted to like this book, the description sounded like something I would really like but this one fell short for me. I won this book from librarything early reviewers but had a hard time getting into it so got the audio hoping it would be better but for over half of the book all I wanted was for it to be over.

I love dual storylines in historical fiction and that was what I was expecting but this book is Romance, lots of sex (very descriptive) and once you get through that there is a little
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hopping between pre-WW I Europe and 1960s New York City, The Secret Life of Violet Grant is snappy, easy-reading with a few twists.
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
I read an excerpt of this in a magazine and was hooked on the plot so I ordered the book from the library. Once I started reading, I was sadly disappointed. While the plot is interesting and the characters are great, the book is overcome with worldliness. There is so much bad language, drinking, smoking and descriptions of sex that I could not continue reading.
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I will not keep you in suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females. I adored this novel. Even though the combination of storylines, both historical (1910's) and contemporary (1960's) was brilliant, I was truly taken with the contemporary plotline much more. Heroine Vivian Schuyler receives a vintage suitcase from the past from her great aunt Violet Grant, the rich New York Schuyler family black sheep - sending her on a mission of discovery into her aunt's scandalous life as a sc ...more
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Love. Intrigue. Deceit. Mystery. Honor -- Beatriz Williams has done it again with this tale of two strong convention-bucking women from the Schuyler family. The story is told from the point of view of two narrators -- Violet, who heads to Europe in the 1910s to pursue her passion for science while her peers head off to "finishing schools"; and Vivian, her great-niece, who doesn't want to settle for the "Mrs. degree" and stands ready to give up a chance a love for a chance at the journalism caree ...more
Jody McGrath
Apr 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Actually, I would rate it a 3 and 1/2 stars.

It is two stories, told in alternating chapters, taking place in different times in history. Violet is a young and innocent American scientist studying in England in 1912ish. Her storyline is about illicit love affairs and the beginning of WWI. Vivian's storyline takes place in the 60s I believe (I can't remember now), and is also about a love affair, but it is also about her learning the existence of her Aunt Violet and trying to put together the piec
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
This was a great story, alternating between two storylines ~ Violet (1914) and her great-niece, Vivian (1964). Part mystery/part romance, this is the first book in the Schuyler Sisters series and my first Beatriz Williams novel. I look forward to the other two and more of Williams' work. ...more
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This novel has been referred to as a beach read. A beach read is not great literature and perhaps you wouldn’t want to put it on your bookshelf between, lets say, War and Peace and Oliver Twist. I know for sure when I pick up a book in this genre it’s going to be light, fluffy, and a lot of fun but not to be taken seriously and that is exactly the genre The Secret life of Violet Grant falls in. It served me very well being a lighter break, in between deeply serious novels and the absolutely perf ...more
Lisa Mcbroom
Jun 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
What a disappointment! The premises sounded wonderful... set in the 1960's a young woman discovers her aunt Violet's secret suitcase of documents during World War II but the writing is horrible and the heroine just makes you want to put a spike in your head!!!! ...more
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Nothing says summer reading like a big, thick pager turning novel that is enjoyable but not to provocative or complex. The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams fits those criteria and then some. Opening in 1964 when young Vivian Schuyler, recent Bryn Mawr graduate, has defied the wished of her privileged Fifth Avenue parents and taken a job and an apartment. Vivian is the very definition of a modern woman, not content to marry her way to her future she intends to live her life to the ...more
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Historical fiction, romance, war, murder, adultery unexpected twists and turns... the perfect ingredients for a fantastic read!! I truly enjoy how this author makes the characters relevant and relatable, you either love or hate them. I equally enjoy how characters from previous books make subtle but meaningful appearances. Beatriz Williams never disappoints!
Emily Bourque
Jul 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, on-my-shelf
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Thoughts: There is nothing so wonderful as sitting on the beach with a Beatriz Williams paperback book. Salt in the air, sand in my bathing suit, and a book that can take a bit of water dropping on it. Beatriz Williams never fails to provide an excellent mix of history and intrigue with a killer love story and a family drama that keeps me entertained without ever getting too overwhelming. I've enjoyed everything she's ever written and I'll continue to read everything she writes.
Sharon Huether
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, novel
What a story! The brown leather suitcase is the center of attention. It belonged to Vivians Aunt Violet, before WWI 1914 while she was in Germany. The story weaves it mystery back and forth from 1914 to 1964. There are twists and turns, then the great escape. Loved the book. I've read another book by Beatriz Williams, it was very good so I knew this one would be too. ...more
Erika Robuck
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One hears so much about “voice” in fiction, and rarely is the power of voice more clear as it is in the work of Beatriz Williams. Yes, the plot is engrossing, the story fascinating, and the setting luminous, but the real draw of Williams’ novel is that feisty, zingy, pop-an-olive-into-your-mouth-from-your-martini-while-giving-the-gossip voice of the narrator, Vivian Schuyler. The reader will know after approximately 1.6 pages with Vivian that they will devour the next 400+ pages just to lean a l ...more
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I started reading The Secret Life of Violet Grant I knew I was going to love it. I immediately fell in love with Vivian Schuyler, she is a spunky independent women trying to make her own way in New York City in 1964 despite coming from a family of great wealth. One Saturday morning she is delivered a long lost suit case that once belonged to a great Aunt of hers, an Aunt she never knew about.

Violet Schuyler is also a women of great independence, living in Europe in 1914 as a young sci
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
The Secret Life of Violet Grant is a fabulous book. I have read several books by Beatriz Williams by now and so far has she always managed to come up with a plot that fascinates me and characters that I love to read about. Although with this book do I have to admit that the I was more interested in reading about Vivian Schuyler than of her aunt Violet Schuyler Grant. Well, at least at first, Violet's story becomes more interesting towards the end of the book. ...more
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
Vivian is the niece of a brilliant scientist named Violet who has quite an interesting past. She has never even heard of her Aunt Violet until a package shows up for her at a Manhattan post office. The package is Violet's old and once missing suitcase. When she asked her well-to-do family about Violet, they seemed to horrified by her scandal. She has been missing for about fifty years and has a dark past, which intrigues Vivian to no end as she is an aspriing journalist working for a New York Ci ...more
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
This was an enjoyable summer read. I debated between 3 and 4 stars but decided on four stars because it definitely held my interest. I preferred Vivian over Violet though. Loved Vivian's tenacity, her sarcastic behavior, and wit. Violet was little boring and, maybe, a little too naïve. She let her sex-addict husband rule her world that's for sure. And speaking of sex....there was a lot of it. Nothing too graphic but it was there. Except there were some crude mentions of sex in one part of the bo ...more
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
A generous, new-to-me-author but still what-was -I-thinking, 2 stars.

Historical fiction is a risky genre for me. Like “contemporary fiction” it’s often a euphemism for something on the wide spectrum of romance-pulp-melodrama-sentimentality-contrived feel the feels, a whole spectrum of things that rarely, though not never, works for me.

This one was so many things that simply aren’t for me that we are better off without me attempting to describe it. I’ll just say it was nothing of what I expecte
Ezinwanyi Chinyere
IT wasn't bad but wasn't that entertaining.
It was a two stories in one, one heroine in the past and the other heroine living in the current USA.
Violet Grant was in the past and the other heroine Vivian Schuyler was the current narrator.
Vivian writes a New York Magazine and she is reading the story about her grand aunt who was suspected of murdering her husband and running off with her lover.

I did like the back and forth pace of the story but I most enjoyed the past with Violet. The narrator di
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hall-tbr-1
The Secret Life of Violet Grant was a 5 star plus read for me. It took a few chapters to build my interest, but when it did. the suspense and intrigue was nonstop from chapter to chapter. I equally loved both storylines - Violet's and Vivian's. Fully-developed characters, history, suspense, romance, a unique plot; this book has it all. I'm excited there are two more books following the Schuyler family also written by Beatriz Williams. ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
The vast majority of this two perspective historical fiction novel, I was bored and didn't really want to read it. I will say that the last 10 pages proved very interesting, but on reflection that wasn't enough to merit raising the star rating. This novel tells the story of two women one in 1913 and one in 1964. Their complex love lives and their struggle to advance their careers. ...more
Alyssa Maxwell
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Everything about it. This author has become a favorite of mine, 1) because of her amazing story-telling talents and 2) her beautiful command of words. Her books never disappoint. I read this fast because I couldn't put it down, and now that it's finished I wish I'd read it slower, because I didn't want it to end. Two stories run parallel at different points in history, with two equally strong heroines, and after countless twists and turns the stories merged and I found both sa ...more
Stephanie Kline
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was an absolutely fabulous read - very similar to a Kate Morton (past/present) historical novel, but with an entirely different writing style and voice. I was absolutely captivated from page one, and looked forward every day to reading this.

Vivian Schuyler, a modern day woman in 1964, receives a mysterious suitcase one day at her New York City apartment. It's been forwarded from her mother, but the original sender is anonymous. Through a bit of digging, Vivian discovers that this suitcase
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