The Glittering Court
by Richelle Mead
For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.
After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself—even though she’s falling in love with him.
Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else’s property. But nothing is as daunting—or as wonderful—as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.
Lady Witmore, Countess of Rothford and her Grandmama had been struggling ever since her family’s fortune had slowly dwindled. Because of this, Grandmama sought for a man who would marry the Countess to save them from plummeting. Thus Lord Lionel Belshire, Baron of Ashby offered his hand in an arranged marriage.
Enter Cedric Thorne who had been searching and recruiting maidens from Osfrid to become candidates for marriage through The Glittering Court in Adoria. He met the Countess when he was persuading one of her ladies, Ada, to join the the other young women to be trained and have their lives transformed and be wedded to the new nobility. Bemused, intrigued and slightly envious of a possible bright future for her lady-in-waiting, the Countess took drastic measures to make sure she get to the Glittering Court instead. So she took Ada’s identity and went by the name Adelaide and thus began her life as a woman destined to find her freedom.
If only things were easy at it seemed. Adelaide soon embarked on an journey of transforming herself into somebody that men would be craving for. Cedric discovered this deception and soon their lives got enmeshed in various situations that almost got them discovered. Issues about art, forged paintings, jealous new friends, incessant rumors, religion and blasphemy all the more added to the confusion and trouble Adelaide had caused.
Glittering Court has been compared to The Selection series which I haven’t read, so I can’t tell if this is better or not. But what I can say is, I was a little disappointed with the lead character, Adelaide aka the Countess. I don’t know what went through her mind, trading her life for her maidservant and decided to get schooled and groomed for marriage in Adoria. I mean, what’s the difference? She’d still be someone else’s wife (more like a mail-order bride, IMO).
It was also stated that this was fantasy, but I disagree. I don’t think I saw any indication of fae or some kind of imaginary creatures, except that it was set in an alternative fictional world where Adoria or the Glittering Court was vividly described. Oh, and the gowns and dances and gemstones, too. There’s not much action or fantasy, too.
I haven’t read any of Richelle Mead’s books, so it’s hard for me to establish an impression of her. One thing for sure though, her world building is quite intricate, most of her characters were dazzling and the pacing was quick and engaging. I just wished Adelaide’s and Cedric’s characters were more strong and badass and potent.