Vixen -Jillian Larkin

the girls on fire

the girls on fire

I am naturally drawn to this genre, as it is something that always sparked curiosity; what would it have been like to be a woman of that decade, where it was risqué to be a lady who defies the cultural standards of proper conservation. Minus the whoring around, I would love to have witnessed such a turn in history for women. To be a part of the underground activities of jazz, dancing, booze and adventure! I know it sounds silly, because such outlandish behavior from a girl who braved the bob and dresses, were often frowned upon by their family. But as a history nut, the turn of events of the worldly tradition, is just too appealing for a wish to observe in the present of that act.

I enjoy the historical accuracy of this book, and how the story takes place in multiple girl’s point of views. You have the girl, Gloria, who is what everyone in school wishes to be; beautiful, intelligent, president of the class, and even has the most handsome guy to herself. She is to wed him at the end of the school year in order of an arranged wedding in attempts to save the family money on both sides. But she yearns to break free of the pressure from peers and family, which is so hard on her, she breaks. She’s desperate to release the fearless flapper within her, to live once in the name of adventure before she marries the, oh-so boring traditional young man.

Then you have Gloria’s 18 year old cousin, Clara, who is just out of a New York prison for her time as a fearless flapper exploits, who is forced by her parents to live with her cousin to relearn the values of being a conservative and bright young lady. She dreads moving there, as she is forced to set an example for young Gloria, feeding her lies how she wishes to be a nun, or a school teacher. Gloria finds this cousin repulsively boring, but has no idea the truth behind Clara’s racy, revolting ways.

Then you have Gloria’s best friend, who is the rebel of the book, and not ashamed of her flapper ways. She is the poster child for the modern-day flapper of the 20’s. Though her love for her best friend is strong, she grows jealous as Gloria makes her transformation to a flapper girl, how easy she makes it look, how beautiful she is, and the guys who drool over her.

This book comes to life with a well painted picture of the dynamic 1920’s; full of risqué escapades, bold interracial relationships, law-breaking exploits, love, music, jealousy, and a first-hand experience of what it is like to release the chains of a customary and old-fashioned world, to becoming an independent young woman on fire.

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The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

A true classic,

A true classic,

Like most women who can agree this was an old-time favorite of theirs as a child, that adoration applies to me as well. I had first fallen in love with the movies based off this book but when my teacher in elementary told me there was a book written way before the movies -knowing very well how much I love to read- I ran for the library before leaving school for the weekend, and was completely consumed by this book.
It is a beautiful tale of a lonely, bitter child. She hadn’t many friends, and liked just about no one, and treated everyone with disrespect. Her parents die, and she is shipped off from India to live with her estranged Uncle in England, in a huge, empty mansion filled with gardens and caregivers. Being in a new place and hearing of a mystery of a secret garden, she sets off to explore. She slowly begins to notice how contrary she really has been in her few short years of life, and learns how exciting her life could be if she chose it to be. She begins to make new friends with animals and a caregiver’s young brother who teaches Mary how to open up and appreciate the beauty of nature and its wildlife, and for once… to feel what it’s really like, to be a child.

To me, the secret garden was very symbolic of the becoming of Mary. The garden was a lonely, unloved and drab garden, but with just a little affection and care, it bloomed to be a beautiful, giving, and loved garden -just as Mary bloomed to be a beautiful, giving, and adored young lady as she opened her heart and began to let people into her life, and treated them with respect.
I think this is a must read for all young girls. This book sets a young minds imagination on fire, and teaches if you treat life and others with respect and care, beautiful things can happen. I remember being deeply touched by this sad girls story, who had a spectacular happy ending. This book is among the top of my special gems I keep dear to my heart!

Emma Donoghue- Astray

My first advanced copy to review =)

My first advanced copy to review =)

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This was one of my first Advanced pre-edited copy to review =)

The fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue’s stories have all gone astray: they are emigrants, runaways, drifters, lovers old and new. They are gold miners and counterfeiters, attorneys and slaves. They cross other borders too: those of race, law, sex, and sanity. They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress.

Emma Donoghue has taken real historic stories of people on the run or departed for adventure and love, and turned them into a work of art. Her imagination takes us for a spin on the untold stories of beloved documented events of everyday real life people who left an imprint on our history, the last few centuries. She respectively tells their stories in different mannerisms all the while staying true to the era’s use of language, lifestyle, characters and places.

An example being, a documented, real story of love letters between two lovers, Emma has taken what was documented and already known about these people; where they lived, why the letters were being written, and has taken the scribed words and created a back story of how the lovers must have felt being apart for so long, how they were feeling, from their point of view, as they wrote the letter to their S/O, what was happening between each letter when they weren’t writing.
I haven’t read anything like this before, Donoghue has quite a vision and minds eye for adding a depth to layers that unfold seamlessly in each story. I found myself inspired by many of the tales, and wanting more! Definitely a 5 star for me!