For a small-town girl with big-city dreams, there is no address more glamorous than New York's Barbizon Hotel. Laura, a patrician beauty from Smith, arrives to work at Mademoiselle for the summer. Her hopelessly romantic roommate, Dolly, comes from a working-class upstate town to attend secretarial school. Vivian, a brash British bombshell with a disregard for the hotel's rules, rounds out the trio of friends. Together, the girls embark on a journey of discovery that will take them from the penthouse apartments of Park Avenue to the Beat scene of Greenwich Village to Atlantic City's Steel Pier - and into the arms of very different men who will alter their lives forever.
©2015 Michael Callahan (P)2015 ListenUp Production, LLC
I enjoyed this book very much it was like listening to an old B&W Movie, which I love BTW. Especially Dolly’s voice it was the voice of so many characters in old films.
The Barbizon Hotel and New York City were almost their own characters in this story, and it gave a look into many different classes of people in the 1950’s from the elite of Park Avenue to the emerging bohemians and even the back alleys where no single girl should go. Every character in this book is so fully fleshed out I could see everything they did in my head, even the side characters were fascinating. Every character is flawed in one way or another and is trying to hide these flaws which lead to some very interesting storytelling. These three girls Laura, Dolly and Vivian come from such completely different worlds yet as roomies in the big city they become fast friends. I loved how strong all these women were even when they didn’t think they were (Dolly I’m looking at you). They are trying to find careers and maybe a husband but that is secondary, Laura finds two wildly different men so there is a bit of a love triangle but it is very well written and I could see why Laura was attracted to both of them. Vivian’s find is less satisfactory and we see her go through the toughest choices. And Dolly dear sweet Dolly I just enjoyed her character, she isn’t as pretty, skinny or chic as her roommates but she is a good friend. I also loved the bookstore I would hang out there all the time too!
Kristin Kalibi was a new to me narrator and I was blown away, great voices, every character had a distinct sound and even all of the secondary characters had their own voices I will definitely be on the lookout for more books she has narrated!
As I said I really enjoyed this book , if you like historical fiction from the 50’s and old B&W movies I’d say to give this one a try and I highly recommend the audio version of this because Kristin Kalibi’s narration makes this book even better.
I received this book from the publisher (ListenUp Audiobooks) for a fair and honest review.
Candace's Book Blog
In this book we get the story of three girls. Laura who is the rich debutante who wants to be a writer; Dolly who is a country girl newly come to the city for secretarial school and Vivian, a beautiful British girl who is a rule-breaker. It's an eclectic mix of girls who are kind of accidentally friends because of all living in the same hotel. But their friendship is one they all come to rely and depend on, as unlikely as it is. Even though the story does get pieces from each of the girls, it felt like Laura was the main character. Because I listened to the audiobook I can't say for sure she had the most time, but it definitely felt that way. She was also my favorite. All of the girls made mistakes. Laura had good intentions and most of her choices weren't too bad other than one big one that blew up in her face. Dolly has awful self esteem and was annoying with her belittling of herself and being jealous of everyone else. At one point at the very end she said something that completely pissed me off. But I have to put it down to naivety. Through the most of the story though she wasn't bad to where she was actively annoying me, it just came around once in awhile. Vivian was brash and didn't make good choices at all. However these weren't things that really annoyed me so much, I guess I understood it a little more. She's all about a good time but things get out of control. Her story ended up being the most compelling for me and I felt really awful about the things she goes through, even if it's partly her own fault and own poor decision making.
The author was clever in ending a chapter with one girl on a cliffhanger and on the next chapter it's a different girl so we're left hanging wondering what happened. But instead of picking up where he left off we get the story as it's seen or known, later. I don't know how to really explain that, but at times some time has passed. So it's not day after day of things, but sometimes weeks and even months at times. This keeps the story focused on the interesting things.
The narration was really good. The author had used language appropriate to the time period of the 1950's and the narrator on the audiobook really brought it alive. Along with the accents (Vivian was British but there were different New York accents, country accents, etc) she really made everyone feel like they were each narrating their own bits of the story.
The only thing I would say that was a bit of a negative is that there were times the story dragged and I found myself not eager to pick it up and listen. Other times it was really hard to stop listening. It may have been my mood as well. I also felt the ending was not really my favorite. We get a good conclusion to everything, but I guess I'm a fan of happy endings and while some of it was a happy ending, not everything was. It's not a huge issue, but it was something that made me enjoy the story a little less. I would still recommend this one as the author really brings 1950's New York City alive with these vibrant characters and fabulous setting!
Well written story for women who came of age in the 50's or for anyone who likes TCM dramas from that era. Nicely chronicled saga of a young woman whose journey from innocence to worldliness is impacted by close encounters with the darker side of life while pursuing a career and love life.
The worlds about us would be desolate, except for the worlds within us. --Wallace Stevens
Yes. The performance is as great as the story, and even though I know what is going to happen, the writing includes interesting insights on reality and the comedy is well-delivered and just the right amount, both of which would be thoroughly enjoyed upon each consecutive listen.
It reminds me of another audiobook I've listened to titled 'Come Pour the Wine'. Female goes to New York to find a life for herself and has realistic experiences of both victory and defeat. A heart-swept fantasy mixed with the gritty lack of forgiveness in making life choices.
Definitely Vivian, an abundance of comedy, tons of drama; and a very well-performed voice.
'Following Your Heart'
Mostly a story for gals, but guys might also find themselves intrigued given the chance.
I'd call this chick at its best. An entertaining story, wonderful sense of time and place -NYC circa 1955; engaging characters. A good choice for the beach. Narration was good, too.
Ravenclaw. I like books that break my heart.
Searching for Grace Kelly surprised me. The characters are all multi-dimensional and interesting. I especially loved Vivian, but connected with all three. Fair warning, this story doesn't end with a happily ever after. I like books that break my heart, at least a little, and this one did.
The character voices were so real and perfectly suited to each character. She expressed the characters' emotions expertly without taking away from the story's words. I loved this as an audiobook.
Vivian, of course. She was so interesting and I just wish I got more of her.
Report Inappropriate Content