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The Girls at the Kingfisher Club (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

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.

— Jocelyn


"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" (Library Journal, starred review).

Jo, the firstborn, "The General" to her eleven sisters, is the only thing the Hamilton girls have in place of a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of the confines of their father's Manhattan townhouse and into the cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off.

The girls, meanwhile, continue to dance, from Salon Renaud to the Swan and, finally, the Kingfisher, the club they've come to call home. They dance until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn't seen in almost ten years. Suddenly Jo must balance not only the needs of her father and eleven sisters, but her own as well.

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 McLain, and penning a dazzling tale about love, sisterhood, and freedom.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781476739090
ISBN-10: 1476739099
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: June 30th, 2015
Pages: 288
Language: English


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