Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review of Vixen by Jillian Larkin


Jillian Larkin

Delacorte Press

421 pages

Vixen is catalogued as YA, but will appeal to adults. Vixen is the first of Ms. Larkin’s Flapper series.

The 1920’s brought about all kinds of change for the US, some bad like speak easies, the mob and prohibition, and some good things like women deciding they wanted to be more than chattel, wanted the right to vote. The term Flapper was created and applied to a “new breed” of western women, who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair and listened to jazz among other things contrary to acceptable behavior.

Meet Gloria, a Chicago socialite in training, engaged to the “right” man, going to the “right” school, getting ready to live the “right” life.

Lorraine, Gloria’s BFF who’s tired of living in her shadow and takes huge steps to change it.

Clara, Gloria’s cousin sent to Chicago after disgracing herself in NY

These three young women will make some life changing decisions between the pages of this novel. Some you’ll expect and some you won’t believe. So let me invite you on a journey back in time where Billy Holliday will be heard belting out her blues in the background.

Ms. Larkin used her own time machine in the creation of this imaginative, colorful and slightly noir look at the “Roaring Twenties” through the eyes of our young characters just peeking around the corner to adulthood. She leaves behind the glossy and shows her audience the underbelly of Chicago society in the smoky and illegal basement rooms known as speakeasies, gets us up close and personal with the Chicago Mob and introduces us to an up and coming Black Jazz musician. But more that that she uses her knowledge of the era to literally paint it in her readers minds as we absorb the culture and counter culture of the 1920’s through her words. She gives us over the top characters that if we didn’t know it would think were much older than the 17 year olds they are. She gives us life lessons about love found and love lost and forbidden love. She makes us ask the question is love enough and what would we do for love.

If you’re ready for a slightly darker look at life in the Flapper era then Vixen is for you, if you’re looking for a coming of age read where the prices are high then Vixen is for you. If you’re a great lover of a wonderful story and great characters look no farther. And be sure to check out the sequel Ingenue due out in 2011.

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