Monday, June 23, 2014

New Book: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club: A Novel by Genevieve Valentine

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club: A Novel by Genevieve Valentine was released a few weeks ago. While it is on my new releases list--see Fairy Tale Influenced Fiction 2014 Part 1--I didn't notice it was released yet. Sidenote: I already have 2015 lists going at Listmania so do let me know if you are aware of ones I am not yet! The lists for 2014 and 2015 are growing!

But the book has some fans among SurLaLune readers already and they have let me know I shouldn't miss it. Both Veronica Schanoes and Heather Tomlinson have emailed me with high recommendations for the book. Frankly, that rarely happens. So we should probably all listen.

In addition to this novel, Valentine has had several fairy tale short fiction pieces published--see her bibliography on her site to see the list.

The premise of 12 Dancing Princesses set in a 1920s speakeasy is intriguing, to be sure. For me, I am even more fascinated by the popularity of 12 Dancing Princesses in novels this past decade. I'm not sure what caused that since most people in the "regular" world don't even know the tale. I really don't think Barbie did it, see Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses if you don't know of what I speak. Seriously, I think only Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast continue to outpace 12 Dancing. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are probably neck and neck with it if you count the books for middle readers, not just YA and adult novels.

But hooray for everyone who embraces this tale that is so very mysterious in motivation and backstory. It has plenty scope for the creative muse, so I understand its appeal. After all, I researched it myself once upon a time for Twelve Dancing Princesses Tales From Around the World. I even dabbled with my own fictional retellings at one time and those will stay safely tucked away from the public eye. So I enjoy seeing where the tale takes other authors.

Does The Girls at the Kingfisher Club already have some other SurLaLune fans? Let me know!

Book description:

From award-winning author Genevieve Valentine, a "gorgeous and bewitching" (Scott Westerfeld) reimagining of the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses as flappers during the Roaring Twenties in Manhattan.

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 townhouse to await 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 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 weigh in the balance not only the demands of her father and eleven sisters, but those she must make of herself.

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.


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  2. I read this last week and liked it a lot, definitely recommended for anyone who wants to read an interesting take on the 12 Dancing Princesses, with bonus points for the flapper setting.