Category: Roaring 20s

Aug 17

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

Fairy Tales, Roaring 20s 5

What’s the word, Bookworms?

The word as in the secret password. To the speakeasy. We’re gonna rouge our knees and pull our stockings down and all that jazz fairy tale style! I love a good fairy tale retelling, don’t you? A few weeks back I was in the mood for a good trip into “once upon a time” and I came across The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine.

thegirlsatthekingfisherclubThe Girls at the Kingfisher Club takes the classic tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses and injects an infectious dose of 1920s flair. Truth be told, I wasn’t familiar with The Twelve Dancing Princesses before I read this book, so if you live under that rock with me, I’ll paraphrase. Once upon a time there were twelve princesses sequestered in a castle. They seem to live a sheltered life but every morning their dancing shoes are worn through as they secretly sneak out to dance every night. Move that scenario to New York City in the 1920s and you’ve got The Girls at the Kingfisher Club. The twelve Hamilton girls live their lives in the captivity of a brownstone. Their tyrannical father keeps them at home because he’s a big jerk and he’s ashamed that he has twelve daughters and no sons. Did I mention he’s a big jerk?

Jo and her sisters have a single rebellion in that they sneak out to speakeasies and dance the nights away. Foxtrots, waltzes, and Charlestons, these gals know how to cut a rug. This wildly entertaining novel seamlessly blends fairy tale magic with historical fiction. I absolutely adored the 1920s fun and the rebellious “princesses.” If you’re in the mood for a fairy tale retelling OR a jaunt that’s the cat’s pajamas, pick up a copy of The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

Talk to me Bookworms! Is there a fairy tale that you feel like you missed somewhere along the way? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Divider

Jan 23

Jazz Age January: The Other Typist

Historical Fiction, Psychological, Roaring 20s 34

You know what’s the bee’s knees, Bookworms?

The Roaring 20s! I had such a great time reading The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty (my review) that I thought I’d participate in Jazz Age January (put on by the very cat’s pajamas, Leah at Books Speak Volumes) again and tackle The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. What can I say? When the giggle juice is flowing freely in the speakeasy, I get a little carried away.

jazzageThe Other Typist begins with  young woman named Rose telling the story of her life. She grew up in an orphanage, but thanks to some enterprising nuns championing her cause, she was able to attend good schools and soon secures a position as a typist in a New York City police precinct. Unaccustomed to wealth and privilege, Rose is quickly enthralled by the glamour of the newest typist at the precinct, Odalie Lazare.

Odalie is a force of nature, sweeping through the city and dabbling in moonshine and bootlegging. She is the quintessential flapper, from bared knees to bobbed hair. Odalie invites Rose to move from a modest boarding house and into her swank digs. Rose accepts her offer and is drawn deeper into Odalie’s luxurious, freewheeling, and potentially dangerous lifestyle. As often happens in these sort of arrangements, things begin to get complicated…theothertypist

Odalie may not be all she appears to be. Then again, perhaps Rose isn’t either. When I picked up The Other Typist, I was expecting some charming historical fiction, and the slow drift into psychological drama territory caught me by surprise. The ending left me reeling (and frankly, kind of confused…) If you like to dabble in madness and bathtub gin, The Other Typist may just be your new best friend.

Bookworms, I simply must know. If you lived during Prohibition, do you think you’d have partaken in a little tippling under the table? Who among you would’ve hit up the speakeasy? (I probably wouldn’t have turned my nose up at a good sidecar, I can tell you that much… )

*If you make a purchase through a link in this post, I’ll receive a small commission… Which will probably go toward the purchase of some cocktails, to celebrate the legality of it and all.*

Divider

Jan 16

Jazz Age January: The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

Coming of Age, Historical Fiction, Roaring 20s 27

Get a Wiggle on, Bookworms,

jazzageIt’s time for Jazz Age January! Leah at Books Speak Volumes is hosting this swell event. Today we’re going to celebrate this sockdollager with some great reading about the 1920s! My first pick for this event is The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, and was it EVER the bee’s knees!

The bulk of the book is set during the summer of 1922. Cora Carlisle is a 36 year old woman in need of an adventure and some answers about her past. When the opportunity presents itself to chaperone a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks to New York City for the summer, Cora jumps at the chance.

thechaperone

Unfortunately, Louise isn’t an easy gal to chaperone. Oh no, that little dollface has her own agenda that doesn’t include propriety, sobriety, or any other -iety. Louise is set on having a gas in the big city. Though Cora has her hands full trying to keep Louise out of trouble, we soon learn that Cora is no stranger to controversy.

Cora’s decision to accompany Louise was based in large part on her desperate desire to uncover some information on her birth family. Yep. Ye olde Orphan Train strikes again! Cora was shipped off from NYC as a 6-year-old and moved on to a life on a Kansas farm. But that’s not all. Cora’s life has more secrets than meet the eye and her trip to New York is more fruitful than she ever imagined.

I think what really made this book a winner for me was the opportunity to view social issues through a 1920’s lense. Cora’s escapade with Louise in the city was a vehicle to look at the era as a whole. Prohibition. Women’s suffrage. Birth control. Homosexuality. Marriage. Social hierarchy. It was downright titillating.

Oh, and BTW, modern folks, Louise Brooks goes on to become one of the most famous movie stars ever. She ruled silent films, but her difficult attitude led to her untimely downfall in the film industry. Louise’s life was crazy, but certainly never boring. She published her memoirs shortly before her death in 1985 to great acclaim. It would seem Louise managed to get the last laugh.

What is your favorite book about or written in the 1920s? Has anybody else read The Chaperone? What did you think?

*If you choose to make a purchase through a link on this site I will make a small commission. This little flapper wouldn’t mind those berries.*

Divider