Genevieve Valentine creates an almost magically contradictory world, where the stark bleakness of the situation and society of her characters cannot quite overwhelm their glaringly bright determination, or overshadow the meerest, most stubborn spark of hope. Valentine has crafted her contribution to the pantheon of fairy-tale retellings in one of the best of ways: not only finding the appropriate analogues for the highlights of the tale, but utilizing the retelling to uncover the darker underpinnings of the story. The eponymous girls of the Kingfisher club are all called "Princess;" beautiful and unique mirages that dance the night away, and disappear before dawn. But what drives these 12 young women to the halls of the Kingfisher - or any other of New York City's speakeasies? After the gin and champagne, the remnants of smoke from a long cigarette holder clenched between the red lips of a too-bright smile, and of course, the worn-down shoes of the dancer that never stops - where does the Princess go when the sun comes up, and the dance halls close? And why does she ever leave? In terrifying, heart-breaking, and yet still triumphant measures, Valentine takes us through the labyrinth of grey captivity, dark hope, and the bright, underground glow of the secret dance and jazz halls of New York City during Prohibition - the time when everything was both forbidden and promised, and the only way to find yourself was to lose yourself in the night. Meet the girls at the Kingfisher Club - and see if you might find yourself.
, surreal retelling... Valentine’s dreamlike narrative brings the Brothers Grimm tale alive with intrigue
and gritty descriptions of the Roaring Twenties."
“I'm completely confident in stating, without an ounce of hyperbole, that this is the best fairy tale retelling I've ever read
... The beating heart of this book is a love of dance and a love of sisters.... Even more than the characters, their voices, or the sharp quiet slicing of the understated prose
, what I loved about this book was its own tense dance with its source materials... There is so much more I want to say about this book: about the ways in which women protect and support each other; about the way they feel like antidotes to The Great Gatsby
brittle ciphers; about the pitch-perfect dialogue; about the dancing. I can't stop re-reading this book
for the dancing and the fierce, scalding love the sisters have for it."
“As sharp, sophisticated and refreshing as a flute of champagne, Genevieve Valentine’s The Girls at the Kingfisher Club
will make you want to strap on dancing shoes and find an all-night speakeasy to call your own.... Ms. Valentine said, in one of the effective parenthetical asides that dot the novel, that 'some stories worked better if they weren’t true.' But this story, whimsical as it sounds on the surface, rings true in all the ways that count.”
“Dressed up in the thrill and sparkle of the Roaring Twenties, the classic fairy tale of 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses' has never been more engrossing or delightful. Valentine's fresh, original style and choice of setting make this a fairy tale reimagining not to be missed.”
“The novel shines… The Girls at the Kingfisher Club
is like a jittery Charleston—loose, fast, and fun.”
"Valentine’s creative retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” is as vibrant and colorful as the era — so evocative, well drawn, well cast and well played that readers will be enthralled. This is a story of sisterhood, a passion for freedom and love that will resonate with many women. The novel calls readers to cheer on these girls as they strive for independence, and Valentine’s ability to make them each distinct and appealing sets this tale apart. Simply a delight to read!"
"This unexpected fairytale, deftly shifted into the age of prohibition, becomes a gorgeous and bewitching novel."
— Scott Westerfeld, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Uglies and Afterworlds
“Delightful and suspenseful by turns, this story of tyranny, pluck, fierce love and even fiercer responsibility is set in a New York of spangles and speakeasies, fox-trots and Charlestons. Valentine retains the shimmer and shadows of the fairytale that underlies her novel, even as she transforms it.”
— Christina Schwarz, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Drowning Ruth
"Valentine’s novel has glamour in spades, evocative of the Jazz Age’s fashions and dance crazes and the dark side of prohibition."
raises the novel above the ordinary...Impressive."
"Has a cinematic sweep... [and] lush period detail.""The Girls at the Kingfisher Club
is as fast-tempoed and intoxicating as a night at a Jazz Age speakeasy, and as enchanting as a good old-fashioned fairy tale. Genevieve Valentine gives us a dozen dazzling sisters it's impossible not to root for."
— Lois Leveen, author of Juliet's Nurse and The Secrets of Mary Bowser
“Genevieve Valentine has turned out an extraordinary and marvelous new thing from very old clothes. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club
is a sumptuous rendering of one of my favorite fairy tales.”
— Kelly Link, author of Pretty Monsters and Magic for Beginners
"I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and stayed up late to reach the end. Genevieve Valentine resurrects 1920s New York
to bring an inventive tale of shifting social mores, family bonds, and heart-wrenching choices.”
— Ronlyn Domingue, author of The Mercy of Thin Air
"Intoxicating... Stands apart thanks to dynamic characters and a resoundingly well-rendered setting."“
Unique and elegant... An artful book that asks important questions about art and creation that you'll be left pondering long after you've closed the last page."