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Flappers Make a Comeback

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

TITLE: Vixen

AUTHOR: Jillian Larkin

LENGTH: 448 pages

SUMMARY: Gloria Carmody has had everything handed to her for her entire life. As she stares down her destiny of marriage to a respectable businessman and a continuing life as a Chicago socialite. But the world around her has changed. Prohibition has created an underground world of booze and crime. Gloria and her privileged friends dip their toes into the world of speakeasies and gangsters, tempted by the excitement and danger it presents.  Gloria’s cousin Clara, who has come to live with Gloria, has firsthand knowledge of the consequences of the flapper life. As Gloria delves deeper into Chicago’s speakeasy scene, she begins to wonder if her planned future is what she really wants. Her true love, jazz, begins to call to her and Gloria makes a choice that will change her life forever. Through Gloria’s, Clara’s, and others’ stories in The Flapper series, readers get a glimpse of the Jazz Age in its heyday and a taste of what it was like for young women as they began to test the boundaries of society’s expectations and explore their independence.

BRIDGE: These books would be the perfect bridge for The Great Gatsby. Male and female readers alike will enjoy the taste of the jazz, speakeasies, and mobsters. The story is interesting and fast-paced will well-developed characters. Once immersed in Larkin’s 1920s Chicago, they will slip easily into Gatsby’s world. Larkin has created a superb environment in which to explore this glittering historical period complete with the unspoken social caste system. The distinct diction of the 1920s Larkin has used is a great jumping off point for a discussion of diction and its uses in writing realistic historical fiction. And her attention to detail really helps cement the realism of her 1920s setting. This could also be a source for independent study on different aspects of this historical period: fashion, politics, and social development.

READERS: Any reader who enjoys historical fiction will like these books. There’s enough action and betrayal to entertain action-adventure fans as well as some requited and unrequited love to appease the romance fans. And, as a series, it can help improve fluency and stamina by keeping readers turning pages.

OTHER TITLES: Readers who enjoyed this book will also enjoy The Luxe series by Godbersen,  Dave at Night by Levine, or The Storyteller’s Daughter by Thesman.

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5 thoughts on “Flappers Make a Comeback

  1. Sounds really good. I’ve recently watched the first season of Downton Abby, a PBS period drama, and think these books would be something similar. You should check put that PBS tv show if you haven’t-Maggie what’s her name from Harry Potter stars.

  2. Pingback: Downton Abbey: Best Surprise of 2011 « The Tiger Lilies

  3. Sounds exciting! Sign me up for anything involving the roaring ’20s. This sounds a little similar to the YA Bright Young Things series by Anna Godbersen. Have you read any of those?

    • I haven’t read any of the Bright Young Things books. That is the series that begins with The Luxe, right? I’ve looked at it, and even put it in my shopping bag, but never made it to the counter with it. Are they worth it?

  4. If you like 1920’s? Try http://www.amazon.com/Elijah-Rising-Lyn-LeJeune/dp/1935725084/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310946856&sr=1-1

    “They came in gray tailored frocks with braided edges and striped trousers …

    This is how the rich experience the war: Last night I was at last ready to tell Mother that was I leaving. But she’d gone to dinner at Churchill’s, attending one of the patriotic reviews that had become the thing in dinning entertainment. When she came home she was escorted by several young men in Khaki uniform, their faces were flushed from the night air and too much liquor. And with them were their girls, all clothed in dresses that went up to their calves, spangles shimmered around their necks, and their mouths were painted dark red. They all looked the same, reflected like chimeras in the long Venetian mirror that adorned the library wall. They laughed unceasingly and begged mother to turn on the radio. “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” was blasting and I longed to escape the assault of the night. The young men twirled their girls around until midnight. Then they all kissed Mother on the cheek and yelled adieu and we’re off to see the Kaiser. Mother was high in color, more than I had seen her in ages, as though the war had given her back her youth.”

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