Sometimes when you finish reading a novel, as a reader, you really hope that everything will turn out for the best for the main character. This was how I felt when I finished Invitation to the Waltz
. I really liked Olivia, and even though I projected some difficult moments for her, I hoped, like her Uncle Oswald, that she would iron out the awkward patches and eventually find her way.
Considering the two Olivia books as a whole—Invitation to the Waltz
and The Weather in the Streets
—they are essentially inversions of each other. Invitation
has an underlying sense of optimism in somewhat bleak circumstances, while The Weather in the Streets
takes optimism to the forefront and paints it black. Beauty and love is completely distorted into something twisted and ugly. Nothing is romanticized. Every detail forces the reader to recognize the truth of Olivia’s situation. It’s rather sad.
Interestingly, both books placed together make a good study of a dying lineage...the slow corruption of old money. The Spencers endured one loss before the start of the first book, and the reverberations of this loss slowly fester and infect everyone the family touches. I really liked how Lehmann illustrates this.
Another aspect of this book I rather liked was how Lehmann seamlessly throws in descriptions of what happened to the various characters Olivia met as a young girl at the Waltz. No one is forgotten, and each character has a fairly satisfying resolution. My only fault with this book is that I wished Lehmann developed her new characters a bit more, especially Simon, who seemed such a grand figure in Olivia’s thoughts.
Overall, though I do prefer Invitation to the Waltz
to this novel, I do rather enjoy Lehmann’s style. I’m looking forward to reading more works by R. Lehmann.