Monday, August 25, 2014

The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Read: June 19, 2014

A passionate historical debut novel about a young woman in turn-of-the-century England who finds love and independence at a seashore resort. In Victorian London, there’s only so far an unmarried woman can go, and Betsey Dobson has relied on her wits and cunning to take herself as far as she can—to a position as a typewriter girl. But still, Betsey yearns for something more…so when she’s offered a position as the excursions manager at a seaside resort, she knows this is her chance for security, for independence, for an identity forged by her own work and not a man’s opinion. Underqualified for the job and on the wrong side of the aristocratic resort owner, Betsey struggles to prove herself and looks to the one person who can support her new venture: Mr. Jones, the ambitious Welshman building the resort’s pleasure fair. As she and Mr. Jones grow ever closer, Betsey begins to dream that she might finally have found her place in the world—but when her past returns to haunt her, she must fight for what she’s worked so hard…or risk losing everything. This eloquent debut novel displays firm propriety barely restraining seething passion—a sizzling combination reminiscent of Downton Abbey

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When I first stumbled over Alison Altee's The Typewriter Girl, I got really excited. The jacket art is beautiful and I'm just shallow enough to get charged up over that sort of thing. The comparison to Downton Abbey didn't hurt either and by the time I got the book I was dying to get started which is funny, because I only made it through chapter three. 

Marketing didn't do this piece any favors and I for one think it a travesty to liken Atlee's work to the Masterpiece hit. Now, before you get your panties in a twist, hear me out. I went into this book with a distinct expectation and was both confused and disappointed to discover that anticipation misplaced. Upset, I stepped away from the book and came back to it after clearing my head. I started over at chapter one, ignored the sales tag and took in the story with a completely open mind and discovered a truly intriguing take on turn-of-the-century life. 

There is more grit in these pages than in the halls of Downton, a palpable desperation Lord Grantham couldn't begin to comprehend and an emotional quagmire that puts Lady Mary to shame. There is a vulgarity I found unnecessary, but I truly enjoyed watching Betsey come into her own over the course of the story. She is an atypical heroine in world of strict social order and I found that fascinating as a reader.

A suggestive and striking novel, The Typewriter Girl isn't your average Victorian era fiction, but Atlee makes it work, ultimately creating something both unconventional and entertaining. 

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Such a sky. The widest she'd ever seen. Even more than the long bow of the shoreline and the eternal spread of the sea, it was the sky Betsy could not fold into her understanding, the cliffs and hillocks of the land overturned, sculpted into the stony clouds and softened with the promise of light.
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Check Out All the Stops on Alison Atlee's The Typewriter Girl Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, August 4
Review at Peeking Between the Pages (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Mina’s Bookshelf
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, August 5
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews (Print)
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, August 6
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, August 7
Book Blast at Mari Reads
Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise
Friday, August 8
Book Blast at Book Blast Central
Saturday, August 9
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes
Sunday, August 10
Book Blast at Book Nerd
Monday, August 11
Review at Just One More Chapter (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books
Tuesday, August 12
Book Blast at Queen of All She Reads
Wednesday, August 13
Review at Historical Tapestry (Audio Book)
Book Blast at The Lit Bitch
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, August 14
Review at A Bookish Affair (Print)
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Friday, August 15
Review at Brooke Blogs (Audio Book)
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Saturday, August 16
Book Blast at Broken Teepee
Sunday, August 17
Interview at Closed the Cover
Monday, August 18
Review at The Maiden’s Court (Audio Book)
Tuesday, August 19
Book Blast at Layered Pages
Book Blast at Always with a Book
Wednesday, August 20
Book Blast at Literary, Etc.
Thursday, August 21
Review at Books in the Burbs (Print)
Book Blast at Bibliotica
Friday, August 22
Review at Bibliophilia, Please (Audio Book)
Saturday, August 23
Book Blast at Reading Lark
Book Blast at Ageless Pages Reviews
Sunday, August 24
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection
Tuesday, August 26
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 27
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing
Thursday, August 28
Review at Luxury Reading (Print)
Review at The True Book Addict (Audio Book)
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (Print)
Friday, August 29
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

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