Hmm... I read somewhere once that the French authors like Alexandre Dumas, et al, were paid by the line, and consequently they wrote quite a few doorstoppers to get as much money as possible. I enjoy the lengthy and excessive amount of detail in some books, especially the kind you can read on a gloomy, preferably rainy, day with a cat in your lap.
Seems like either the author is getting paid by the line (which I can totally respect) or she's just one of those extra details people, which I find tiring in this case because there seems to be a flagrant violation of the Show, Don't Tell principle + this book is actually a continuation of a previous series.
I was thrown by the complicated family structure referenced in just the first 5 chapters. Did I miss a prologue or something? I admit to skipping the list of characters in the very beginning - because honestly, this is a novel, not a play - but I didn't think it was that important. Then I did a little research and found out that The Gilded Hour is apparently a continuation of the same family written about in Donati's previous works after a 70 period time skip or something like that. And that there's a wiki for it. An incomplete and poorly organized one. Seemingly by the author herself?
+ Period accurate representation of historical events and circumstances
+ Empowered female characters
+ Passes the Bechdel test
- Strange set up for a coup de foudre between Jack and Anna, would've expected it from a Harlequin romance but not this book
- Surplus of inside references, not suitable for a first-time reader of this author it seems