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The Life She Wanted - a woman's quest for a fulfilling life set in New York during the Jazz Age.

It's 1926 and Pandora Carmichael is a young woman whose father Willie is the tennis instructor for a wealthy family. The Carmichaels live in a cottage on the sprawling Van Luyen estate in Hyde Park, New York. Pandora has grown up with the Van Luyen children and their close friendship has introduced her to the world of privilege and wealth. Pandora is invited to all the society parties and hopes she will marry into one of the wealthy families. In addition to finding love and starting a family, she wants to be able to provide for her father and pursue her hopes of becoming a fashion designer. Pandora's journey takes her from New York to the French Riviera as she seeks to fulfill her dreams, finding love and heartbreak along the way.


Author Anita Abriel has created an enjoyable story with The Life She Wanted. I am drawn to historical novels that take place in New York. From the mansions in the Hudson Valley to the streets of Greenwich Village, this book did a fine job creating a good sense of the era. Pandora is an appealing, resilient protagonist you will root for. This is a relatively short book and a light read. While not about tennis per se, I liked how it was part of the backdrop and was happy to find real-life tennis great Suzanne Lenglen in the story. The references to the fashion designers of the time were also entertaining. Abriel did excellent research for this book. And what a great cover!


Many thanks to Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in advance of its publication.


Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Historical Fiction.

Publication Date: July 1, 2023.


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