By Laura Moriarty
26.95 Riverhead books
Review by Joan Leotta
Beach Read. I love historical fiction and very much enjoy stories of imaginary folks who interact with high profile historical figures. Heck, I write them myself. Moriarty’s novel was good but not great. The story centers on the month that Louise Brooks spent in New York (age 15) at dance school in the 1920s. Her chaperon is the title character, a woman with her own reasons for wanting to break out of Wichita, and find something (her own roots) in the big city.
Great research on Brooks.
I found the device of zooming to the near future (late 50s, early 60s) every now and then, annoying to the flow of the story. Who told her to intersperse them instead of putting them in an afterward? Not good advice –made it hard to follow, disturbed the flow.
Raises issues of life for women in those days, suppressed sexual secrets in families, closed or open adoptions, how family stories are valued after the fact, what people remember, and how the young behave toward their elders (then and now). Characters were well drawn but I was a bit let down after the tale left New York. It seemed as though the author was on autopilot after the New York month. Smooth read but slight.