Published by NAL on November 4, 2014
Genres: Adult Fiction, Historical, Romance
In late-nineteenth-century Chicago, visionary retail tycoon Marshall Field made his fortune wooing women customers with his famous motto: “Give the lady what she wants.” His legendary charm also won the heart of socialite Delia Spencer and led to an infamous love affair.
The night of the Great Fire, as seventeen-year-old Delia watches the flames rise and consume what was the pioneer town of Chicago, she can’t imagine how much her life, her city, and her whole world are about to change. Nor can she guess that the agent of that change will not simply be the fire, but more so the man she meets that night.…
Leading the way in rebuilding after the fire, Marshall Field reopens his well-known dry goods store and transforms it into something the world has never seen before: a glamorous palace of a department store. He and his powerhouse coterie—including Potter Palmer and George Pullman—usher in the age of robber barons, the American royalty of their generation.
But behind the opulence, their private lives are riddled with scandal and heartbreak. Delia and Marshall first turn to each other out of loneliness, but as their love deepens, they will stand together despite disgrace and ostracism, through an age of devastation and opportunity, when an adolescent Chicago is transformed into the gleaming White City of the Chicago’s World’s Fair of 1893.
My sincerest thanks to the author, Renee Rosen, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I first discovered the writing of Renee Rosen after reading her novel, Dollface, in which she captured my attention by taking me back in time to the roaring 20s. Now, in her next novel, What the Lady Wants, she takes readers back to the late nineteenth-century just as the Great Fire consumes Chicago and the years following its rebuild and beyond.
Sometimes I need to venture away from my usual genre of choice and indulge in something I don’t regularly read. Historical fiction is a genre I love, while it’s not something I read all the time, I still love to indulge in it from time to time and get lost in stories of the past. In this story of retail tycoon, Marshall Field, and his love affair with society woman, Delia Spencer, you’ll go on a lifelong journey filled with love and loss.
When you first start reading, you find yourself trying to outrun fire and smoke along side those in the story & encouraging them as they rebuild Chicago. As the story goes on, you learn just how resilient Chicago is & the tragedy they overcame to become the beautiful city it is today. I love how the history of Chicago is knitted together so perfectly throughout the story and is not overshadowed by the love affair that takes place over a number of years. In fact, it too is an important part of the love story between a tycoon and society woman.
The time period in which this story takes place, adds to the romance of the story and makes it unforgettable throughout all of the trials and tribulations. It’s an exciting love story that leaves you guessing and adding to your curiosity as the story continues on. There is beauty in the misconstrued marriage between Delia and Arthur and a friendship between the two that warms your heart and breaks it at the same time. And the love affair between Delia and Marshall is all the same.
Rosen creates several beautiful and diverse characters that each add their own level of importance to the story. The love and friendship between the characters is so beautiful woven throughout the book that I couldn’t stop reading. I enjoyed the development of the characters, even during their downfall. The characters each possessed their own elegance that is showcased so beautifully on the page. It’s a book, that while contains it tragically sad moments, also earns my applause by the beautiful way in which is it written.
I can honestly say that Renee Rosen has quickly become one of my favorite historical writers and I am thrilled to read more from her.
four out of five stars