Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

Uptempo and wonderfully enthralling, The Girls at the Kingfisher Club reimagines the fairy tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses in 1920’s New York City - the girls escaping their isolated lives and contemptuous father each night amid the raucous backdrop of Manhattan’s jazz scene.

For eldest sister Jo (or “The General” as she is somewhat affectionately known to her sisters), teaching the girls to dance is a means of saving their sanity, the speakeasies they visit each night  a lifeline to a world outside. So long as they follow the rules.  Don’t give out your name. Flirt all you like, but don’t get romantically involved. Know when to run. And know who’s in charge. 

For Jo, life is routine - sipping bootleg gin and keep a watchful eye on the dancing “princesses”.  Until a man from her past resurfaces, throwing her world off balance at the same time her father declares it’s time for the girls to be married off - whether they like it or not.

Valentine’s world of dancehalls and jazz comes alive on the page - I have to say, for a retelling, this story is thoroughly unique.  It’s the kind of story that draws you from the beginning, weaving you into a different time and place, which becomes harder and harder to leave. Highly recommended for fans of the Jazz Age, historical fiction in general, or anyone looking for a story that will transport you.

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