You are invited to set sail on the maiden voyage of the SS Princess of the Pacific in this indulgent historical romance from Anna Godbersen, the New York Times bestselling author of the Luxe series.
Vida Hazzard can see her future: aboard the heralded “Millionaire’s Ship of the West,” she’ll charm the young scion Fitzhugh Farrar, resulting in a proposal of marriage.
But Vida didn’t plan on Fitz’s best friend, Sal, a rough-around-the-edges boy with a talent for getting under her skin. Nor did she anticipate a hurricane dashing their ship to pieces, along with her dreams.
“The first voyage of the Princess is one of those events that bring all the best people together, for it promises lavish parties and gossip galore.”
You know what, I actually enjoyed this book a lot. You have to be in the right mood to read an Anna Godbersen book. Beautiful Wild was glamorous, far fetched, dramatic, and it dealt with a small kernel of truth about appearances and what matters most in life at the end of the day. Are you living your life for you, or for those around you? Will a life of beautiful glamour be the right path for you, or do you crave the wild? Why not both?
“She was a huntress–her hunting grounds were drawing rooms and polo fields, it was true; but that did not make her any less a huntress.”
Our MC, Vida (which means life in Spanish btw), was the sort of grown girl I love to see in historical sort of setting–improper while still navigating the rules of her society, daring, willing to paint outside the lines. Her life revolves around her society and the expectations her parents place on her to marry well so she may continue to live big. That is one thing I did enjoy about Beautiful Wild, Vida’s parents legit only want what is best for her, and encourage her in her adventures (to a certain point). They are not there to make her miserable. Vida thinks what she wants, and is best for her given the rumors and her parents ultimatum due to the rumors, is to snag the richest boy on the cruise and have him propose to her. She has a bigger than life personality that just attracts people to her, even though she will admit she is not the most beautiful girl. She has charisma, and is willing to go for what she wants. I loved that.
“Which is it? Do you like the fussy dresses, or do they hold you back.” “Have you never felt two contradictory things strongly, truly, and at once?”
Beutiful Wild does not make our MC choose to be only one thing. Vida loves her life, but is also aware of the constraints her society places on her and women in general. She craves adventure and finds it where she feasibly can, in the ballroom. But this cruise is going to push her to extremes, allowing her to get to know herself in the most realest of ways and find out just how capable she can be.
“The glittering world in which Vida had first encountered the grand Mrs. Carlton Farrar was gone–the ocean had swallowed their way of life whole.”
I found Beautiful Wild to be a love letter to Vida. There is romance, of course, but sincerely I didn’t think it was central. Vida’s journey of self discovery was what I loved about Beautiful Wild. The romance was sweet though. You have a love triangle of sorts, both boys representing different aspects of the lives Vida thinks she wants/might actually want. Her decision in the end is courageous (for the time) as she chooses herself. She goes after the adventure she always wanted, and the boy that her heart calls out to adventure alongside her.
I’d totally recommend this read, just know what you are in for. A “Titanic”/”cast away” mix YA book with feminist undertones and a bit of romance to spice things up.
“On this island she could see, from first light to last, that the world was much bigger than she had known.”
PS; I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to the publisher!