It’s such an honor today to welcome author Lynn Austin back to the blog to talk about her new Gilded Age novel, All My Secrets!
ALL MY SECRETS by Lynn Austin
GENRE: Historical Fiction/Gilded Age (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: February 6, 2024
Bestselling author Lynn Austin returns with a luminous work of historical fiction set amid the opulence of Gilded Age New York, where three generations of women in one family must reckon with the choices they have made and their hopes for the future.
New York, 1898. The only thing more shocking than Arthur Stanhope III’s unexpected death is the revelation that his will bestows his company—and most of the vast fortune that goes with it—to the nearest male heir, leaving his mother, wife, and daughter nearly impoverished. His widow, Sylvia, quickly realizes she must set aside her grief to ensure their daughter, Adelaide, is launched into society as soon as the appropriate mourning period passes. If Sylvia can find a wealthy husband for Addy before anyone realizes they’re practically destitute, there will be little disruption to the lifestyle they’re accustomed to.
Sylvia’s mother-in-law, Junietta, believes their life could use a little disruption. She has watched Sylvia play her role as a society wife, as Junietta once did, despite what it cost them both. Junietta vows to give her granddaughter the power to choose a path beyond what society expects.
But for Addy to have that chance, both mother and grandmother must first confront painful truths about their own choices. Only in bringing their secrets to light can they hope to reshape their family inheritance into a legacy more fulfilling than they ever dared dream.
love or money?
by Lynn Austin, author of All My Secrets
It sounds like every young woman’s dream, doesn’t it? Born to a millionaire father, growing up in a lavish mansion with servants to wait on your every need, wearing beautiful gowns to the lavish parties of the very rich, and dancing until dawn with wealthy gentlemen suitors at fairy-tale balls. Who wouldn’t want such a life? And if you were fortunate enough to live that charmed life, what would you be willing to do to keep from losing it all? That’s the question that nineteen-year-old Adelaide Stanhope faces in All My Secrets after the sudden death of her father.
For all its advantages, the life of a rich, young, high-society heiress during the Gilded Age wasn’t as happy as it seems. Proper young ladies like Adelaide had a lot of rules to follow and very little freedom to make their own choices, especially when it came to love and marriage. One of New York City’s wealthiest heiresses, nineteen-year-old Consuela Vanderbilt, was torn from the arms of the man she loved and forced to marry a British lord.
Young Adelaide has a decision to make now. Her father’s death has caused a financial crisis that has shaken her world. It doesn’t help that the two women she loves the most, her mother Sylvia and her grandmother Junietta, offer conflicting advice. “Let the mansion and the millions go,” Grandmother Junietta says. “Live an ordinary life where you can marry for love.”
That sounds romantic, but Adelaide’s mother points out that a life of wealth and ease is the only one that Adelaide has ever known. She has never cooked a meal or scrubbed a floor in her life. “You deserve the life you were born into,” Mother insists, “and if you follow my advice, you won’t have to give up anything.”
To further emphasize their points, Sylvia and Junietta each share long-hidden secrets from their pasts, telling stories of love and loss that Adelaide has never heard before. Rather than sway her one way or the other, the exposed secrets make Adelaide’s decision even more difficult.
So which would you choose—love or money?
Before you answer too quickly, take a stroll through Adelaide’s mansion wearing her shoes. Dress in a magnificent evening gown and dance in a wealthy suitor’s arms at the ball. (Never mind that he is nearly old enough to be your father.) Eat a seven-course, gourmet meal in her enormous dining room. Then travel over to the Lower East Side of Manhattan and visit a tenement that is packed with immigrants. An entire family lives in one room with no running water and little food. The only window looks out at a brick wall. Would you be willing to give up everything to live there with the man you loved, a man who must work in a factory twelve hours a day, seven days a week, to keep a roof over your head?
Not such an easy choice, is it?
Authors like me love putting our main characters in difficult situations and making our readers squirm along with them. We want to keep you turning pages late into the night. (And by the way, we hate it when you read the ending ahead of time to find out what happens.) All My Secrets takes place during the Gilded Age at the turn of the twentieth century, yet as I was writing it, I found many parallels to life in the twenty-first century. The gap between the very rich and the very poor still exists. And while it isn’t a sin to be wealthy, it isn’t fun to be poor, either. Young women like Adelaide—and even older women like me—face a lot of important decisions when it comes to living our best lives. What do we value most? Love? Money? Family? Work? Faith? What compromises are we willing to make? And how does following Christ fit into it all?
My goal with each of my books is, first and foremost, to tell an entertaining story. I love to make readers laugh, make them cry, and make them think. I hope you will do all three as you enjoy All My Secrets. Happy reading! And let me know what you would do if you were in Adelaide’s shoes.
Lynn Austin is the bestselling author of nearly thirty novels and was one of the first inductees into the Christy Award Hall of Fame. Her novel Hidden Places was made into a Hallmark Channel movie starring actress Shirley Jones. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in western Michigan. You can connect with Lynn on her website.
Tyndale House is offering a print copy of All My Secrets by Lynn Austin to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read All My Secrets by Lynn Austin? What would you do if you were in Adelaide’s shoes?