I had heard about this book a while ago (it publishes on Tuesday the 14th) and I thought I would like it – I was not wrong! Juliette Fay – a new author for me – does a spectacular job of making 1920’s vaudeville come alive through the story of four sisters, and their mother, who create an acrobatic act in order to make money for their family during tough times.
Here’s the overview via Net Galley:
For fans of Orphan Train and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, a compelling historical novel from “one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal). Set against the turbulent backdrop of American Vaudeville, four sisters embark on an unexpected adventure—and a last-ditch effort to save their family.
In 1919, the Turner sisters and their parents are barely scraping by. Their father is a low-paid boot-stitcher in Johnson City, New York, and the family is always one paycheck away from eviction. When their father’s hand is crushed and he can no longer work, their irrepressible mother decides that the vaudeville stage is their best—and only—chance for survival.
Traveling by train from town to town, teenagers Gert, Winnie, and Kit, and recent widow Nell soon find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are as diverse as their acts. There is a seamier side to the business, however, and the young women face dangers and turns of fate they never could have anticipated. Heartwarming and surprising, The Tumbling Turner Sisters is ultimately a story of awakening—to unexpected possibilities, to love and heartbreak, and to the dawn of a new American era.
I absolutely loved this book! Told sometimes through Gert’s point of view, and sometimes through Winnie’s, this was a story of a family, of sisters as they are on the brink of adulthood, with all their trails and tribulations. Gert is headstrong and feisty and definitely the one front and center. She will stop at nothing to protect her family but also to do what she wants to do, even if it involves a forbidden love. Winnie is sensitive and intellectual, falling in love with a young Italian performer and trying to keep her dreams of going to college alive. Kit is only thirteen but is tall, so she passes for older. She just wants a friend. And poor Nell is recovering from the death of her husband in WWI, travelling with her baby boy and trying to reawaken to the world around her.
If you know me at all, you know I love and do theater, so the blend of historical fiction, family, sisters, and vaudeville – along with great writing – was what made this book a five star pick for me!
Publishing on Tuesday, you can pre-order it now!
If you are local, Ms. Fay will be speaking at my favorite bookstore – The Concord Bookshop – on Thursday evening, June 16.
Thank you so much to Ms. Fay’s publicist, Kristin Dwyer, who gifted me an e-ARC through Net Galley!
Find out more about Ms. Fay and her books at http://juliettefay.com/