I’m sorry about the fact that this Readerly Geek’s not been posting much about reading lately. I’ve been in a slump. Last month, I couldn’t finish anything besides graphic novels, but, thankfully, this month is turning out to be better–which is good because I’m, at least, nine books behind on my reading challenge.
This week, I’ve finished two books so far. If you stopped by Tuesday, you’ll have seen my review of Love, Rosie. After I binged on that love story, I picked up The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine.
I don’t know exactly how I came to have this book in my possession. It was on hold for me at the library last week, but I don’t remember putting it on hold or even hearing about it before. I’m not sure what drew past me to this book, but I am glad I found it.
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is a retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” I absolutely love fairy tale retellings, but this one is even more magical than most because it is set in New York during the Jazz Age.
That’s right. The twelve “princesses” in this book are sneaking out to speakeasies for their dancing good times.
The twelve girls are the daughter of a rich, businessman. Obsessed with having a son, he basically kept his wife constantly pregnant for as long as she lived. Twelve girls were the results of their union, and, since the father can’t stand the shame of having that many daughters, he locks them away upstairs and never lets them out.
The older girls, however, learn to dance and begin sneaking out at night. As the younger girls grow older, they join in the clandestine, dancing outtings. They always must be careful not to raise their father’s suspicions. The oldest daughter, Jo, fears that, if he were to find out, something truly horrible would happen to them all.
The basic plot of The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is a bit Flowers in the Attic, but the story itself never descends into melodrama. The twelve girls all have their own personalities and are well drawn–especially considering how little page time most of them get. I’ve never read anything by Genevieve Valentine before, but, based off of this book alone, I’m going to call her an amazing author. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is a VERY short book, but the story doesn’t feel rushed and the characters don’t come off as blandly, two-dimensional. It’s a really great book and probably one of my favorite fairy tale retellings of all time.
I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t tell you whether this fair tale ends happily ever after. I do, however, highly recommend you checking it out for yourself.