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The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

My rating: 2 of 5

ebook, 288 pages
Fairy Tale Retold
Published June 3rd 2014 by Atria
Available on: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, MP3CD

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What they say:

A mesmerizing, surreal retelling… Valentine’s dreamlike narrative brings the Brothers Grimm tale alive with intrigue and gritty descriptions of the Roaring Twenties.” (The Washington Post)

With The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, award-winning writer Genevieve Valentine takes her superb storytelling gifts to new heights, joining the leagues of such Jazz Age depicters as Amor Towles and Paula McClain, and penning a dazzling tale about love, sisterhood, and freedom.

What I have to say:

The girls at the Kinfisher club Book Cover

The Girls at the Kingfishers Club is the retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale, set in Manhattan during the Jazz Age.

The year 1927, there were 12 girls, the Halmilton sisters, confined by their father at their Manhattan townhouse. This led them to sneak out of their house when the sun went down to dance the night away at fabulous jazz clubs. The sisters enjoy their nocturnal ventures, but for the sake of keeping their identity safe they never give their real name; hence everyone at the dancing scene calls them “princesses”.

Mr. Halmilton has heard some rumors that the daughters of storied families were “lured in numbers, by immodest music and the demon drink, like princesses into that dark underground which leaves no innocent unsullied”. This made him realize that his daughters are reaching a certain age, so he decides to arrange lunches/interviews at their home with possible suitors for each of their daughters.

This doesn’t keep the girls from their nightly dancing adventures, until one day, they are caught in a raid that separates them. They are forced to run for their lives and to live for the first time apart from each other and away from home. Will they be able to survive on their own? Will they find true love, rejoin as a family and live happily ever after? That’s for you to find out. 😉

The setting is marvelous. I felt transported to the 1920s. I could picture the underground clubs, listen to the jazzy tunes and imagine the outfits and hairdos in my mind. The lovely feminine woman in the cover was also a great aid for my imagination.

The story is OK. It’s not a bad book. There were too many characters and I couldn’t completely bond with them. The sisters don’t get the same exposure in the story. I only remember Jo, Lou, Doris and Ella. The rest of them were sort of fillers, which I don’t think is fair for them as a sisterhood.

I also felt like there where loose ends. It’s even ironic that the story mainly focuses on Jo, the oldest of the sisters, but in the end we don’t know for sure if she had her fairy tale happily ever after, it’s only sort of implied. And then there’s Lou who disappears from the story; we don’t know what she went through and only reappears in the end. I don’t like loose ends in books. I need full closure after I have read the last word. Like I said, this is not a bad book but it’s not one of the great ones either.

The other thing that didn’t do it for me was the lack of romance. Even though the setting calls for romance and with 12 female characters the story practically begged for estrogen filled love stories, this is not a fairy tale about love and passion.

The Girls at the Kingfishers Club is a book I recommend as transitional read, a short quick story in between long and heavy books. If you like stories about sisterhood this is the book for you. If you like to listen to 1920s jazz this is the book for you. If you’re of age, this story is the perfect companion for your gin on a summer afternoon. If you’re a fan of fairy tales retold, this is the book for you. It takes you away back to a place and time that is more believable than the original fairy tale.

In honor of the 12 dancing Halmilton girls, I leave you with this video:



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I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links as stated in my disclosure policy.