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The Invitation

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,028 ratings  ·  106 reviews
The sumptuous new novel set in the Gilded Age, from Belinda Alexandra, author of Tuscan Rose and White Gardenia

Sometimes the ties that bind are the most dangerous of all ...

Paris, 1899. Emma Lacasse has been estranged from her older sister for nearly twenty years, since Caroline married a wealthy American and left France. So when Emma receives a request from Caroline to me
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 22nd 2018 by HarperCollins - AU
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,028 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Embossed with gold, much like the grand and opulent lives experienced by the rich in this new novel from Belinda Alexandra, The Invitation is a ticket to the Gilded Age in New York. Following two vastly different sisters, it considers the value of happiness and personal fulfilment, in the face of wealth and opportunity. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy being showered by the period detail and intriguing narrative penned by Australian storyteller, Belinda
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

The Invitation by Belinda Alexandra. (2018).

Paris, 1899. Emma has been estranged from her older sister for almost 20 years, ever since Caroline married a wealthy American and left France. So it is a shock when Caroline invites Emma to visit with the condition of tutoring her shy niece Isadora and help her prepare for her society debut.
Caroline and her family live a life of unimaginable wealth and excess and Emma is soon immersed in a
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Invitation by Belinda Alexandra is a beautiful novel set in late 19th century Paris and later New York featuring sisters, Caroline and Emma.

In the beginning Emma meets Frenchman, Claude in Montmarte, (artists haven) telling him of her hopes and dreams of becoming a writer.

Emma receives an invitation from Caroline in New York but often invitations come at a cost.

Is a rich life filled with jewels and gold necessarily a happier one?

Or, just the one we wish for and really want. In reality, how w
Theresa Smith
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, aww2018
‘‘The Gilded Age’ refers to a period in the history of the United States that coincides approximately with the Victorian era in Britain and the Belle Époque in France. It was a time of rapid economic growth, when great fortunes were made and millions of immigrants flooded into the country. It was also a period of extreme wealth for some and destitution and abject poverty for others. The term was first coined by Mark Twain in his novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. ‘Gilded’ is not the same as ...more
Kelly Doust
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel so much and was hooked from the very first page. The sumptuous setting of Paris and then New York during the Belle Epoque; the fascinating life of its writer-heroine, Emma Lacasse; the descriptions of the homes and society and the clothes - oh, the glorious clothes! - made me devour it in a matter of days.
After nursing her grandmother through cancer, Emma finds herself dangerously in debt. Appealing to her wealthy sister in New York for help, she decides to take up her invitat
Nicola Alter
An entertaining and enjoyable story that transported me back to turn-of-the-century New York. This was a 3.5 star read for me but I rounded up.

I must confess I nearly gave up at the start, as I found the writing somewhat expository and lacking in subtlety and subtext. A lot of the backstory is dumped in internal monologue, which weighs down the opening, and the set ups of character problems (eg the debts) felt a bit obvious done. The Parisian artists also had me rolling my eyes a little. However
Nov 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
I remember enjoying Belinda Alexandra's early books so I was looking forward to enjoying this one. Sadly, either my memory is foggy or her writing has deteriorated greatly.

I found this book horrible to read, and I gave up trying about a quarter in and just skimmed the story to see if the ending satisfied (it didn't).

It's about a poor Parisian girl, Emma, a struggling but brilliant writer, who is promised that all her debts will be cancelled if she assists her ridiculously rich by estranged siste
Booked For The Weekend
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC from Harper Collins and fell madly in love with this cover. Having said that I was dubious as I do not like historical fiction - it has never been a genre I really enjoy but I decided to give it a go.
All in all - I could not fault this book. It took me a while to get used to the older terminology and the writing style but after I did, I fell completely in love with this book.
It really made you despise the bad guys and fall for the good guys. It also made you see the extremes on
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Having enjoyed Belinda Alexandra's previous books I was really looking forward to her new novel but I am afraid it did not live up to her previous works. Half way through reading it I was almost going to put it aside but glad I did continue to find out what happened to the characters who were quite a mixed bag of personalities. ...more
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I have read all of Belinda Alexandra’s books and even though I liked this book it was my least favourite. I found it to be a bit slow and drawn out and not as much substance as previous books.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I was happy to finally delve into a Belinda Alexandra book, being the fan of historical fiction that I am. This book did not disappoint with the depth and richness of its detail. Set in France but mostly New York in the late nineteenth century, it depicts a time referred to as the ‘Gilded Age’.

‘Mark Twain called the late 19th century the "Gilded Age." By this, he meant that the period was glittering on the surface but corrupt underneath. ... It is easy to caricature the Gilded Age as an era of c
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I've been a fan of Belinda Alexandra's books from very early on. White Gardenia is one of my all-time favourite books. So, to be honest, I just buy her books without even finding out what they're about and I usually love them.

This time, though, it pains me to say it didn't work for me. I didn't feel sucked into the story like I usually do. You can tell Ms Alexandra has done extensive research, she always does. But she usually doesn't cram it down your throat. Here, for the first half of the nove
Shelly Record
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just adore Belinda Alexandra's writing. This story of found strength and overcoming a heartless bully was enticing. Additionally, learning about the Gilded Age and the wage gap during this time reflects today's societal gaps. Many times I just wanted to SLAP the face off of Caroline. What a crass woman! Money definitely can't buy class! I am so glad that Emma and Claude found their own form of happiness. ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
Obviously a lot of research went into this. And I think some of the side characters were interesting but poor Emma was always so shocked and never seemed to learn anything in her journey. Did she really start out living with artists in Paris and then end up so innocent and naive in New York? She annoyed me. Even Isadora had a clue.
Mel Rawoteea
Jan 13, 2019 is currently reading it
My Thoughts

In her depiction of the era and detailed descriptions of extravagant clothing and luxurious residences, Belinda Alexandra’s extensive research is, evident throughout. I enjoyed reading and learning more about the time period this book was set in.

‘The Gilded Age’ refers to a period in the history of the United States that coincides approximately with the Victorian era in Britain and the Belle Époque in France. It was a time of rapid economic growth, when great fortunes were made and mi
Kate (KitKat07210)
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it
With thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Australia for providing me with a digital arc of The Invitation by Belinda Alexandra, all opinions expressed are my own.

The Invitation is set in Paris and New York during 1899/1900. Emma leaves behind her bohemian lifestyle as a writer and harpist in France, as well as her boyfriend of 5 years Claude to tutor her niece Isadora, helping with her debut and finding a husband. In return her wealthy estranged sister Caroline will pay off sets Emma incurred c
Jacki Percival
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
A family saga at the turn of the century detailing the excesses and heiracy of New York society.
Rita Chapman
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another fabulous book from Belinda Alexandra. She is a superb author, her descriptions so natural and enlightening that you feel as if you are in the same room as her characters, seeing everything unfold. It's like watching a movie in your mind, with vivid descriptions of their surrounds, clothes and mannerisms. Highly recommended. ...more
Leanne Lovegrove
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading about and learning of the Gilded Age in New York, fascinating period of time. A great read.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
I usually love Belinda Alexandra novels, but this one was really trying. Having just finished reading one of her other books Southern Ruby, I could not help feeling like the protagonist in that book and this one were really similar. Very similar back stories and same yearnings in life. I enjoyed reading the story, but this was more because of my love for historical fiction and this era, rather than the actual characters or writing. The narration really let the book down.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I loved this book! What fascinating and unforgetable characters, some a delight to know, some not so much. Thank you Belinda Alexandra, yet another stunning story I totally recommend.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The greatest thing in life is to be passionate about something.” -Belinda Alexandra, The Invitation

Wow, I loved this book! One thing I’ve come to love about Belinda Alexandra’s books is how obvious it is that she researches the eras and locations that she is describing in her novels. Belinda is a masterful storyteller and this was a beautifully written book. I couldn’t put it down once i started reading it and was up all hours of last night finishing it!

I don’t want to give much of the storyl
Wendy Sice
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Belinda Alexandra creates perfect villains. A villain who never quits is rare in fiction but both novels I have read by this author have had them. It is a brilliant way of enabling the reader to empathise with the main character which is definitely achieved here. The story centres around a French woman, Emma, who is in debt after the many medical bills she had to pay before her Grand-maman’s death. In desperation, she appeals to her wealthy sister Caroline in New York who promises to pay Emma’s ...more
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon J
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love Belinda Alexandra’s novels and The Invitation is another excellent read.

Set in the late nineteenth century in Paris and then New York it vividly portrays the Gilded Age of wealth and richness beyond belief with characters to match. The extravagance of the houses matched by the clothes worn was incredible. While some of the wealthy characters display a social conscience there are many who are totally self-indulgent ignoring the increasing and poorer population in New York who are strugglin
Sep 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Usually love this author's novels, but was really blase about this one. I began reading it over a year ago, put it down after a chapter or so and recently picked it up again. I really enjoyed the Parisian part of the story but the entire part set in New York was rather blah. I understand it was a time of great opulence but even though i was hooked for a great deal of the middle of the book, because i really enjoyed the characters like the niece Isadora and her tutor, i ended up skipping 100 page ...more
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon Albanese
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It has sumptuous and detailed descriptions of beautiful places and people who live lush lifestyles, but its message is simple. Money doesn't buy happiness, and in fact often leads to delusions of power and misery. The heroine is very appealing, although at times I wished she had stood up to her hideous sister earlier on. But then the novel would have ended much sooner, and what would be the fun of that?
It also has a lot to say about the role of women 100 or so years
Margaret Galbraith
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
It took me a few chapters to 'get into this book' but about a third of the way in I really began to enjoy it. There are so many twists and turns and Carole the evil sister never ceased to surprise me of what she was capable of doing to her sister and even more so to her daughter Isadora. Carole and Emma her younger sister are like chalk and cheese. Emma after 20 years of not seeing Carole who has now made her mark in society in New York is summoned from Paris to help her prepare Isadora for comi ...more
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The Invitation" is a tale of two sisters, long separated, set against a backdrop of two cities, Paris and New York. At the turn of the century, the bohemian Paris scenes are in stark contrast to the excesses and lavish lifestyles of the upper class of New York. The author describes both these locations with detail and historical accuracy.
When Emma finds herself at her sister's home in New York she is faced with challenges, unanswered questions and social situations completely foreign to her. H
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Belinda Alexandra has been published to wide acclaim in Australia and internationally. She is the daughter of a Russian mother and an Australian father and has been an intrepid traveller since her youth. Her love of other cultures is matched by her passion for her home country, Australia, where she is a volunteer carer for the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES).

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