The Invitation by Belinda Alexandra. (2018).
**5 out of 5 stars**
Paris, 1899. Emma has been estranged from her older sister for almost 20 years, ever since Caroline married a wealthy American and left France. So it is a shock when Caroline invites Emma to visit with the condition of tutoring her shy niece Isadora and help her prepare for her society debut.
Caroline and her family live a life of unimaginable wealth and excess and Emma is soon immersed in a world of luxury. Emma was hoping for an emotional reunion but instead she finds herself in the grip of her charismatic and manipulative sister. New York society is stripped bare and beneath the glittering exterior lies a seething nest of deceit, betrayal, moral corruption and perhaps even murder.
I loved this book. Side note, the cover is absolutely gorgeous. From the very beginning I was wrapped up in the story feeling like Emma was my family member or something, I was so invested in what was going to happen to/for her. I found Emma to be such a likeable character. On the flip side, Caroline was a horrible character. A couple of times you thought she was maybe doing something nice but there was always an undercurrent of how it would actually profit her in some way. Carolina’s daughter, Isadora, was just lovely and I found myself really hoping that everything would work out positively for her. The juxtaposition of Emma compared to Caroline was also complemented by the comparison of the wealthy entitled upper class in their mansions to the poor working class stuffed together in horrible living conditions.
Overall, an extremely well-written, excellent and enthralling read that I highly recommend.