Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Monday, February 07, 2011

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Vixen is set in 1920s Chicago, a time when liquor was outlawed and only outlaws had liquor; a time when young women were beginning to discover the power they could wield in society; a time when the rich had the world at their feet but didn't quite know what to do with it. Thus we come to know Gloria Carmody, good girl extraordinaire, seventeen and engaged to the dashing Bastian Grey, longing to break out of the mold and experience life. All it takes is one illicit visit to a speakeasy, and her life is changed forever when she sees a black pianist who makes her heart sing in a way her fiancee never could.

Gloria's world is populated by her best friend Lorraine, who secretly lusts for Marcus, a playboy who is like a brother to Gloria, and Gloria's "country" cousin Clara, recently come to Chicago to help plan the wedding...or has she? Because no one is as they seem and appearances must be upheld at all times, even over happiness.

There is nothing deep about Vixen; it's sort of a 1920s version of many television shows currently popular. It would, in fact, be fairly easy to pick the book apart if I were so inclined: Gloria falls madly in love with the pianist without so much as talking to him; he is a young black man, which in this time and place would have meant both of them being ostracized if they embarked on a relationship, yet Gloria is willing to give up her life for someone she's known just a few weeks (I suppose that's the cynic in me coming out); Bastian is so typically evil as to be a caricature; Clara's past catches up to her way too easily and publicly. Mostly, had I read the word "flapper" one more time, I might've been forced to do physical harm to the next person I saw simply to take out my frustration. But despite its flaws, it is crammed full of atmosphere and fun, with plenty of emphasis on fashion and young, privileged lives spiraling out of control. The ending alone makes the book worth the read; naturally, I'm waiting for the sequel to find out where all this mess is headed. Perfect brain candy, and that's never a bad thing.


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