A powerful novel about a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas–and finds unexpected fortune, friendship, and love.
It was unimaginable. When she was eight years old, Lily Decker somehow survived the auto accident that killed her parents and sister, but neither her emotionally distant aunt nor her all-too-attentive uncle could ease her grief. Dancing proves to be Lily’s only solace, and eventually, she receives a “scholarship” to a local dance academy–courtesy of a mysterious benefactor.
Grown and ready to leave home for good, Lily changes her name to Ruby Wilde and heads to Las Vegas to be a troupe dancer, but her sensual beauty and voluptuous figure land her work instead as a showgirl performing everywhere from Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana to the Stardust’s Lido de Paris. Wearing costumes dripping with feathers and rhinestones, five-inch heels, and sky-high headdresses, Ruby may have all the looks of a Sin City success story, but she still must learn to navigate the world of men–and figure out what real love looks like.
With her uncanny knack for understanding the hidden lives of women, Elizabeth J. Church captures both the iconic extravagance of an era and the bravery of a young woman who dances through her sadness to find connection, freedom, and, most important, herself.
All the Beautiful Girls centers around Lily Decker, her childhood was tragic and heartbreaking. Swas a young girl in the 50’s whose parents were killed and was taken in by her aunt and uncle. And the heartache she went through as a child. With dreams of escaping her abuse to go and live her dream as a dancer, she was ecstatic when she winds with a scholarshop to do just that. My biggest question was, who is this person who did this for Lily?
I have to admit, the Vegas setting is part of what drew to me to read this, and it being set in in the 50’s and 60’s as well. It was described so vividly too, with all it’s illuminations, the hotels, the stage, to the costumes the Showgirls wore. Lily took on a different name when starting dancing, Ruby, which I thought suited her very well. But even with all the glitz and glamour of Vegas, it isn’t as easy as Lily/Ruby thought it would be. The topics of abuse, drugs, and hw society objectified women, during this era of time were all touched on. It takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, but all the while rooting for Lily. A few of the other characters were so amazing, and I enjoy their interactions too.
Some parts of this was hard to read, my heart just heart for Lily, but it was such a powerful story of innocence lost, healing and moving on.
The “clever and wonderfully chilling” (Fiona Barton) suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare…
Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .
Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.
When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .
The Broken Girls was a great read for me. It had all the creepiness and suspense that I look for when I am reading a thriller of any kind. It centers around an old abandoned boarding school, the Idlewood Hall. There have been rumors circulating about this school for years and now that school in under renovations, it has brought up some awful memories for Fiona Sherifan. Her sister was found murdered not that far from the school 20 years ago. Fiona being the journalist she is, she puts her skills to work, trying to figure out who is behind the renovations, who is funding it, and mostly why.
The story is told from two different timelines, and from the past timeline, it is sad to say but it this school seemed to be the place where parents and other family sent their “unwanted” girls when they didn’t know what else to do with them. The girls are all very different, but have a special bond with each other. I enjoyed getting to know a little about each of the girls. As the story unfolds, secrets are unearthed from the past, and the clue start to link to the murder of Fiona’s sister. Fioan’s wastes no time, trying to it it all together too. There are some bone chilling moments, espeically when it came to the legend of Mary Hand. *shivers*
From the gothic atmosphere, the eerie Idlewood Hall combined will all the recovered secrets and tale, it all made for a suspenseful ghostly read.
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