Title: Vixen (Flappers #1)
Author: Jillian Larkin
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Goodreads Book Summary:
Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.
Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?
Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .
Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .
From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.
Rating: 3 Stars
Who were the Characters?
Main Characters: Gloria Carmody, Clara Knowles (Gloria’s cousin), and Lorraine Dyer (Gloria’s “best friend”)
Sebastian Grey: Gloria’s fiancé, a match made in socialite heaven. Marrying for money and status.
Marcus: Gloria’s real best friend and eventual love interest for another character
Jerome: The smokin’ piano player at the Green Mill (the hottest Chicago speakeasy)
And of course, you have to have gangsters.
…Soooo……since we’re talking about characters, I’m just going to say this: the men in this book are empty shells, devoid of the fleshing out a good character needs. This book needed a lot more work before it was ready to go out on the shelves. Both on the characters and the dialogue.
What was different?
This book is set in the roarin’ twenties! It’s the best thing about the book. Larkin took pretty dull and cliche characters and threw them into a blender with some awesome details and historical knowledge of the time period, and pulled out a half decent story. Larkin also cleverly wove the story through three different points of view, and I felt like she did a good job of keeping everything going, not retracing, and keeping the pace of the book up. Building the story that way helped me get through the book, despite the things I had trouble with.
What was similar?
Oh Gosh. The characters were not original and were very much like other books that are based on the socialite life. Like Gossip Girl, The Luxe Series, Bright Young Things…that type of thing. I don’t feel like they were copied or anything like that. Larkin just didn’t develop original characters, and instead went with cliches.
Where was the setting?
The setting is wonderful. The most enjoyable thing I found in the book. By far. The author had more than sufficient knowledge to give the reader an accurate view of what it was like for these teenagers in the 1920’s. She describes the dresses, accessories, and settings with extreme detail, and uses a lot of language from the era. Maybe too much. At times, I felt like the author was trying to convince me, the reader, that she really was writing about people in the ’20’s. The phrases and details seemed very well researched and was the best part of the book. But the catch phrases and cheesy wording and overuse of details slowed the book down.
When did this story take place?
In case you hadn’t gathered…it takes place in 1920’s Chicago. Both in the old-world, pre-war society that the older generation is clinging to where woman have no power and only fulfill their well-defined gender roles, and in the emerging flapper, speakeasy world where women are becoming independent beings capable of living their own lives.
Why did I like/dislike it?
This book, while I wanted it to be good, just wasn’t that great. I think I am pretty good at ignoring things while reading for the sake of the story. I’ll not dwell on a small inaccuracy here or a blatant moment of “…yeah right” while reading in order to try to accept the book and stay “in to” the story. I read this book in an average amount of time. It wasn’t bad, wasn’t good. But the more I have been thinking about it, the more I am going crazy about it. Why would Marcus fall for a girl all of a sudden when he’s known to be a playboy? Especially when she isn’t who she says she is? Why would Gloria, who seems so devoted to her societal role, even want to be a flapper? She goes for being a singer with her all, and yet still thinks that she can hide it…knowing her fiance has friends that will find out…why didn’t she just leave home? Because of duty? Either you are going to follow your dreams, which her actions portray her as someone who will do whatever it takes…..or you are going to follow the rules. And don’t even get me started on Lorraine. Although at least she was a believable character. Talk about annoying. I’m not sure why we needed her point of view. I would never read this again. And because of this series, I have to take a break from historical fiction.
ps-Here’s your Just For Fun: They talk about dancing the Charleston a lot in this series…so here’s a video of 1920’s flappers dancing! Love it!