Sunday, August 23, 2009

Amateur Book Review - The Palace of Strange Girls

The Palace of Strange Girls by Sallie Day
was given to me by Miriam, (one of my favorite Hachette publicists connections) to review.

I must admit, the cover drew me in, before the storyline from Hachette:

Blackpool, England, 1959. The Singleton family is on holiday. For seven-year-old Beth, just out of the hospital, this means struggling to fill in her 'I-Spy' book and avoiding her mother Ruth's eagle-eyed supervision. Her sixteen-year-old sister Helen, meanwhile, has befriended a waitress whose fun-loving ways hint at a life beyond Ruth's strict rules.

But times are changing. As foreman of the local cotton mill, Ruth's husband, Jack, is caught between unions and owners whose cost-cutting measures threaten an entire way of life. And his job isn't the only thing at risk. When a letter arrives from Crete, a secret re-emerges from the rubble of Jack's wartime past that could destroy his marriage.

As Helen is tempted outside the safe confines of her mother's stern edicts with dramatic consequences, an unexpected encounter inspires Beth to forge her own path. Over the holiday week, all four Singletons must struggle to find their place in the shifting world of promenade amusements, illicit sex, and stilted afternoon teas in this touching and evocative novel.

In A Nutshell: For me, it took a while for me to get into the story. I was waiting for The Palace of Strange Girls to finally show itself. The family dynamics were very typical of the time. It was fun to read about the cost of items in the 50's.

I was interested in Helen the older daughter and how she handled herself trying to come out from under her mother's thumb and loved the relationship of the two daughters, Helen and Beth. Helen helping her sister fill in parts of her I-Spy book was sweet. What matters to Beth is getting an acceptance letter from Chief I-Spy.

I appreciated the vision of all the deck chairs and the crowded beaches. Reminds me of photos my grandparents have of Coney Island Beach. Barely room to walk and everyone is smiling.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting... once I finish the pile on my coffee table :-) I'll look for it at the library.
    Thanks for the review...


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