Who doesn’t love to peek into the lives of the rich, famous and influential? To
spark your summer reading, this month we will take a look at protagonists (some
real historical figures, some fictional) who strive for fame, fortune, and glory
in the chaotic decades after the devastation of World War I.
We begin with Hazel
Gaynor’s THE GIRL FROM
THE SAVOY. Dolly Lane dreams of dancing on the London stage, but World War I
intervenes, bringing with it passionate love and devastating loss. Trying to
piece her life back together after the war, she takes a job as a chambermaid at
London’s luxe hotel, The Savoy, where she daily observes the rich, rebellious,
and unconventional New Women of the Jazz age.
Her life on the sidelines ends when she responds to a songwriter’s advertisement
for a “muse.” Introduced to the world of the London theatre and into friendship
with famous actress Loretta May and her brother Perry, Dolly finds herself
poised between two worlds and two men—one ordinary and familiar, one full of
dangerous glamour. Does she have the courage to seize the new—or will ties from
the past pull her back?
Beatriz Williams brings
us another Roaring Twenties tale with A CERTAIN AGE, this one
echoing Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosencavalier, set against the
background of New York City and New York Society of the jazz age. Socially
prominent, eminently respectable Mrs. Theresa Marshall risks her comfortable
position when she falls in love with her young paramour, aviator Captain
Octavian Rofrano, a handsome World War I hero. Devoted to his older lover,
Octavian wants to marry Theresa, but though the world is changing, divorce would
still ruin her socially. Besides, her kind but philandering husband Sylvo has no
objections to the affair.
Then Theresa’s brother Ox decides to marry Sophie Fortescue, setting into motion
a series of events that will change everyone and everything. Theresa tasks
Octavian with delivering the family’s traditional rose diamond engagement ring
to the new fiancée—and checking into the background of the little-known
Fortescues. As he carries out his task, Octavian finds himself falling for the
enchanting younger woman. A love-triangle ensues, with Octavian pulled between
Theresa and Sophie as shocking family secrets and dangerous revelations force
Theresa into a bittersweet choice.
Hopping back across the pond, we have RADIO GIRLS by Sarah-Jane Stratford.
It’s 1926, and American-raised Maisie Musgrave takes a secretarial job at the
new British Broadcasting Company, whose pioneering use of radio is fascinating
the country. The hectic pace and brilliant staff both intimidate and energize
her, and soon she is caught up in the work of arranging broadcasts for the
famous writers, scientists, politicians and notables of the day.
Taken under the wing of Hilda Matheson, director of the popular Talks programs,
she is drawn into Hilda’s struggle with the BBC’s Director General, John Reith,
over conflicting visions of what radio should be. The discovery of a shocking
conspiracy forces her to recognize the rewards, the dangers and the consequences
of creating the news.
We finish with two biographical novels by veteran historical novelist C. W. Gortner that
reimagine the lives of two iconic women. MADEMOISELLE CHANEL takes
on the life of the great Coco Chanel, from her poverty-stricken youth to her
dominance of the fashionable world. Her skill at sewing and tailoring nurtured
by the nuns who take in the orphaned Gabrielle, the fanatically ambitious young
woman turns herself into the torch singer “Coco,” who catches the eye of a
wealthy businessman. Brought by her lover into his privileged world, disdainful
of over-ornamented gowns and imprisoning corsets, Coco envisions a new style
free of the strictures of the past. Her simple, chic and seductive silhouettes
capture the enthusiasm of the newly-independent, modern women of the 20’s, and
Coco soon becomes one of the most influential and popular couturiers in Paris.
But business success masks personal heartache, and when the Nazis invade Paris
during World War II, she must make heart-wrenching decisions that will haunt her
for the rest of her life.
Gortner’s newest effort, MARLENE: A NOVEL takes us
on stage and behind the scenes of one of history’s most glamorous actresses,
Marlene Dietrich. Maria Magdalena Dietrich is determined to leave poverty behind
and find fame and fortune on the stage. Abandoning her proper middle-class
family for the scandalous world of Weimar Berlin, her sultry voice, slinky silk
gowns and blonde beauty soon win her adoring fans and competing lovers, both
male and female. Not satisfied by fame, marriage or motherhood, when the Nazis
rise to power, Marlene’s restless spirit takes to Hollywood, where prominent
director Josef von Sternberg turns her into a star to rival Greta Garbo.
Performing alongside legends like Cary Cooper, John Wayne and Cary Grant,
Dietrich’s success and beauty have Hitler trying to lure her back to her
homeland. Instead, she takes up American citizenship and performs for the troops
at USO shows. The novel follows her to the end of World War II, when she finally
returns to Germany, escorted by General George Patton himself, and sees first
hand the devastation wrought on her country and family.
Ready for a peek into privileged worlds? Grab a comfy seat, your favorite
beverage, and settle in!
Real, intense, passionate historical romance
After twelve years as a vagabond Navy wife, an adventure that took her from
Virginia Beach, VA, to Monterrey, CA, to Tunis, Tunisia to Oslo, Norway and
back, Julia Justiss followed her husband to his family's East Texas
homeland. On a hill above a pond with a view of pasture land, they built an
English Georgian-style home. Sitting at her desk there, if she ignores the
summer heat, she can almost imagine herself in Jane Austen's Regency
In between teaching high school French and making jaunts to visit
her three children (a Seabee in Gulfport, MS, a clothing buyer in Houston and a
mechanical engineer in Austin, TX) she pursues her first love—writing
Series: Regency Silk & Scandal | Hadley’s Hellions | Ransleigh Rogues
Leader of Hadley’s Hellions, a group of outsiders who bond together at Oxford
vowing to reform Society, Giles Hadley wants nothing to do with the earl, his
father who banished him, or his stepbrother George, who is the bane of his
existence. But he’s curious about the woman rumor says George is to marry,
daughter and political hostess of prominent Tory Lord Witlow.
part, Lady Maggie finds angry rebel Giles far more fascinating than George—so
fascinating, that though she has no intention of risking her heart after losing
her beloved husband, she might just be tempted into an affair…
Buy FORBIDDEN NIGHTS WITH THE
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