Thursday, 27 February 2014

Review: Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

Upstate New York, 1928. Laura Kelley and the man she loves sneak away from their judgemental town to attend a performance of the scandalous Ziegfeld Follies. But the dark consequences of their night of daring and delight reach far into the future.…

That same evening, Bohemian poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and her indulgent husband hold a wild party in their remote mountain estate, hoping to inspire her muse. Millay declares her wish for a new lover who will take her to unparallelled heights of passion and poetry, but for the first time, the man who responds will not bend completely to her will.…

Two years later, Laura, an unwed seamstress struggling to support her daughter, and Millay, a woman fighting the passage of time, work together secretly to create costumes for Millay’s next grand tour. As their complex, often uneasy friendship develops amid growing local condemnation, each woman is forced to confront what it means to be a fallen woman…and to decide for herself what price she is willing to pay to live a full life.

Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by NAL Trade 
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received an advanced readers copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.*

This book tells the story of fictional character Laura Kelley and the real life poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. Each Chapter begins with Laura's story from her point of view and ends with Vincent's from hers. Although each story is separate they intertwine as the book progresses and a relationship is built.

I thoroughly enjoyed Laura's story as she found herself in a situation that marks her in her small town community and leaves her ostracised and struggling to make ends meet. She struggles to keep her dress shop in business and pay bills when the community members refuse to give her business. Although I enjoyed her character and sympathised with her struggles, I did find her story to be a little slow at times. What I really wanted to know about Laura's story was not revealed until the final few chapters and it felt a tiny bit rushed and anti-climatic by that point.

I have mixed feelings when it comes to Vincent's story. Although I sympathised with her sadness I didn't overly like or enjoy her character. I found her to be selfish, unstable and felt that she brought a lot of her pain on herself. If I'm honest I have to say that the pages written in her point of view were a bit of a bore and I found myself skimming the paragraphs. As the story progressed and interactions between Vincent and Laura began I felt a disconnect from them. I couldn't really feel the bond that they were creating. I did however really like Vincent's husband Eugen.

I always enjoy historical fiction because I can experience what it was like to live in a different time where views, morals and judgements were so different from what I know. This story does not disappoint in that sense. Although not a perfect story it was an enjoyable read.

About the Author
ERIKA ROBUCK self-published her first novel, RECEIVE ME FALLING. Her novel, HEMINGWAY'S GIRL (NAL/Penguin), was a Target Emerging Author Pick, a Vero Beach Bestseller, and has been sold in two foreign markets to date. Her novel, CALL ME ZELDA (NAL/Penguin), was released on May 7th, and was a Southern Independent Bookseller Bestseller for multiple weeks. Her next novel, FALLEN BEAUTY (NAL/Penguin) features the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and will be released on March 4,2014.

Erika writes about and reviews historical fiction at her blog, Muse, and is a contributor to fiction blog, Writer Unboxed. She is also a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Hemingway Society, and the Millay Society.


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