Title: The Girls At The Kingfisher Club
Author: Genevieve Valentine
Publisher: Atria Books
Pub Date: June 3rd 2014
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.
“To the world, they’re a pair of clockwork dollfaces who dance like a dream, If you dare to ask”
I had such a high expectation for this book! When I was little I was not only obsessed with the original story of the 12 dancing princesses but also the Barbie version, including the Gameboy game. So when I read the blurb for this and I got approved from Netgalley, I immediately started reading.
I want to state first that my biggest problem with this story was that it was written in 3rd person. I understand why, it’s because there are so many characters, but still it’s hard to get through at least for me. So if you like 3rd person this the story for you. Another thing was how much the introductions lagged. We got to meet every single sister, and it really was too much. It’s not until the last part when things finally get interesting. Even the ending was a little too perfect for me but I guess some stories deserve that.
The sisters were all unique and fun, ranging from boy crazy to lesbian, from snotty to shy. It wasn’t hard to remember their names (it was drummed into our heads for 80 pages). My personal favorite sister was Lou, she was just so sassy and rough, who wouldn’t want a best friend like that? The first 4 sisters get the most attention : Jo, Lou, Doris, and Ella. We do hear from the rest like the twins Hattie and Mattie along with Araminta. They each had their own dance for example Araminta only danced the waltz while Doris would never dance Waltz, only fast songs. They had their dances and their rules about men.
“Never tell a man your name. Never mention where you live, or any place we go. Never let a man take you anywhere; Never fall for a man so hard you can’t pull your heart back in time.”
Seems like sensible rules, and they were all made by Jo who was known as “The General” since their mother was absent she became the mother figure, without all the handholding:
“You dressed when she gave the word. (If she never gave the word, God help you if you dressed.)”
“Never a lot of comfort in Jo, but it was hard to deny she gave practical advice.”
The rest of sisters followed suit never defying her, which was pretty believable since their father was a first class A-Hole and kept them locked up. Their mother was so desperate and tired after trying for a boy she stayed in bed with depression until she died. Other than all the sisters, we also had a few boys, they were all perfect and in a 1920’s fashion, all gentlemanly. Tom was my favorite and I imagined him to look like this
I have to give a lot of credit to the author, I’m sure she had to do a lot of research and the whole thing was very imaginitave.I was able to imagine everything (when we finally got to it). The way everyone talked was also very 1920’s which was fun to imagine.
It wasn’t very heavy with the romance but what little we did get was gush-worthy this was my favorite line: “He had watched her like he had come home after a long absence and had missed her most of all.” I mean it was just adorable.
If this gets turned into a movie, I would definitely watch it, I figure my biggest problems with the book (3rd POV, Long Introduction, and awful ending) would be fixed with a movie screenplay. Also the costumes would be simply amazing.
Now to end this review with my favorite party scene (You can say what you want about Baz luhrman but he is the king of parties)