Author:  Alexandra Monir
ISBN:  978-0-385-73838-5

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I love New York City.  That being said, receiving a book that was not only a great story, but also one that put NYC front and center in all its glory, was a true gift!
 
In this debut novel we greet Michele Windsor.  Michele is having a great life with her Mom in California.  She has good friends and she spends her time writing poetry and lyrics; her dream is to one day do this for a living and put words into the mouths of the greatest singers that the world has to offer.  Michele does have a little bit of an issue that crops up once in a while...a dream of a young man with sapphire eyes.  The handsome "ghost" always stares back at her from a mirror, as he stands beside a girl who looks just like Michele - the only difference being that she's dressed in a strange costume.  As the image takes the girl's hand, Michele can actually feel his fingers interlacing with her own as he whisks her around a dance floor.  Then...she wakes up and the dream is over.
 
Unfortunately for Michele, when the dream ends a nightmare begins.   Her mother - her absolute best friend in the world - dies tragically in a car accident, and in the blink of an eye Michele is transported from her loving home in L.A. to a cold, stark mansion in New York City.  Michele comes from a long line of Windsors, an extremely rich family who has ruled NYC society since before the time of the Astors and Vanderbilts.  The Windsors were America's first multimillionaires and the reason why Michele's mom had raced away from NY a long time ago.  You see, Windsor women had always been expected to marry their own "class" of people, and Michele's dad was from a much lower station and deemed inappropriate for a Windsor's daughter.  Michele's mom had gone against the family tree and ran from her home with her true love by her side.  Unfortunately, he disappeared before Michele was born, so she was never able to meet Henry Irving for herself.
 
In a state of depression, Michele arrives at the Windsor mansion and meets up with her stuffy, cold grandparents who long ago had made her mother's life a true misery.  The white columns in front of the stately mansion look nothing like the rest of modern day New York.  It's set between high rises and neon signs, looking as if it were simply a historical relic - a memorial to a magical time in American history.
 
Trying to fit in with the blue bloods is almost impossible for Michele.  But as her story unfolds, it quickly goes from impossible to improbable.  She finds a key that unlocks an old drawer in her room.  As she sits on her bed with the eyes of the Windsor generations staring down at her from their portraits littering the walls, Michele begins to read an old diary left behind by Clara Windsor - a girl who was adopted into the clan a long time ago. 
 
Soon
Michele finds herself being whisked away - transported through time to 1910.  Here, in the Gilded Age, Michele meets up with her lineage and learns the secrets of the past that changed her future.  She also meets Philip - the owner of the sapphire eyes who haunts her in her dreams.  Not only is he from the family that are literally the archenemies of the Windsors, but he is also a person, like Michele's mom, who wants nothing to do with extending the family wealth by marrying someone he doesn't love.  He's a pianist and loves to compose music that perfectly combines with Michele's wonderful lyrics in order to create songs that the world will never forget.

 
What if the person you love was born in a different time and there was absolutely no way to be with them?  This is the issue that breaks Michele's heart and soul.  She wants nothing more than to stay in 1910 and be by Philip's side forever, yet her visits into the past may just destroy the young man's future.
 
From the Halloween coming-out party to the "Ladies' Mile" that offered the sparkling windows of Lord & Taylor and Tiffany & Co., where The Four Hundred 'clubbers' always shopped for their priceless merchandise; to the famous Cotton Club in the roaring twenties where Michele meets up with her great-grandmother and watches her become the songstress that will make her mark in history; to the pain and agony of WWII and the horrific sirens that sounded to alert the wealthy and poor that their beloved boys were fighting against monsters across the ocean - every single page of this book was a tribute to the City that has been the center of cultural, social, and political issues since the beginning of time.
 
You will fall madly in love with the romance between Philip and Michele - two people who couldn't be more different - and you will feel the heartache as they each try to get on with their lives while knowing that the person they truly were meant to be with is out there...somewhere in time.  Not only is this a debut novel, but the author also has songs being released that are talked about in the book.
 
I, for one, want this writer to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) as fast as she possibly can.  The research, the locations, the re-telling of history has me completely and utterly "hooked."  There was recently an article in The RT (Romantic Times Magazine) spotlighting the YA books that have been offered movie deals.  As far as I'm concerned, Ms. Monir should receive a call from Hollywood immediately upon publication.  I know there is a very real and huge group that might dislike me greatly for what I'm about to say...but my 'Bella and Edward' is most definitely Michele and Philip.  Write on!!
 

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