Under a Gilded Moon by Joy Jordan-Lake is set in the Asheville, North Carolina area where the Biltmore Estate is located. If you have been to North Carolina, you already know that it is a beautiful, scenic area. In the book, the Biltmore Estate has almost been completed. The years of building the estate were from 1889 to 1895.
Kerry Macgregor is on her way home from college in New York to North Carolina. Her alcoholic father is dying and she needs to care for him, as well as her adolescent siblings. Kerry doesn’t to forgive her father for all of the shady stuff he has done in the past. However, she puts her education on hold to take care of her family.
When Kerry and her siblings arrive at the train station in North Carolina, a murder of a reporter occurs. Was it the young socialite, the fugitive or the conservationist? Trust me. They all have secrets that they want to protect.
There’s a handsome, intelligent man on the train because of course there is. John Cabot seems like the strong, silent type. What is his real story? Is he hiding something too? Why are people attracted to the strong, silent type? Is it because we can make up our own fairy tale about them? Kerry doesn’t know what to think of John either.
She’s got her hands full with the dying father and keeping her siblings from starving. Eventually, Kerry takes a job at the Biltmore Estate. She has to put her pride aside for the sake of keeping everyone in her family alive. She absolutely does not want to work for rich people who look down on the people from the mountains.
If you like historical fiction with a story based loosely on actual history, then you might find this book to be interesting.
On a side note, I thought that I visited Biltmore in the 90s but it was a different mansion. In reality, I visited the Moses Cone Manor/ Flat Top Manor in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Flat Top Manor is about 2 hours away from the Biltmore Estate. If you are have time or want to take a road trip in North Carolina, both mansions are probably worth visiting. The view from Flat Top Manor is so beautiful. I still dream about it.
If you are a snob, a not-so-secret racist or a classist, then you either won’t like this book or it will teach you something. In either case, Under a Gilded Moon is definitely worth reading.