Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Thursday January 20, 2011

Vixen (Flappers #1)
by Jillian Larkin
December 14, 2010
Delacorte Press
Goodreads Summary: Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .

From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.

Review: I was immediately drawn to this book because I've always loved the Flappers era. I wish all the womens fashion from that time period would come back! The dresses, hats, wraps and shoes are so feminine and beautiful...Just take a look at the cover! 

Here's a pic of some "authentic" fashions...aren't they awesome??!!
Anyway, on to the review :) Now I've read around the blog-o-sphere that this read is similar to The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen and I admit it does contain some similar plot elements but I don't think it had the same feel at all. For one thing, The Luxe is a much more "mature" series, in my library it's marked as 14 and up...face it, there are some pretty steamy scenes in those books! On the other hand Vixen is much lighter and although there is some inferring in regards to sex, the author leaves a lot to the imagination.
The Prohibition and Speakeasy parts of the book add to the historical aspects of the book and bolster the rebel attitude of girls who lived the Flapper lifestyle. Most people think of Flappers as just a style during the 1920's but in reality it went much deeper than that. Flappers were the rebels of their day...  "women who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms." (from Wikipedia)
At first I wondered if it was really authentic for girls who were so sheltered in the upper class to risk losing their social status to be a Flapper, but I suppose there are rebels in every socioeconomic level throughout history. Gloria, Lorraine and Clara wanted out of the suffocating lifestyle and expectations that they were born into and the Flapper lifestyle would be a likely temptation to girls their age who looked to the seemingly sexy, glorious lifestyle the Flappers flaunted. Clara's experience is probably the most realistic of the three as she remembers the good and the bad of her Flapper experience. 

Best friends Gloria and Lorraine each have their own motivations for sneaking out to the off-limits Speakeasy and eventually their experiences there could drive them apart. Lorraine is determined to get spoiled, rich boy Marcus' attention by being the best Flapper she can be while Gloria finds her self falling for the clubs drummer, Jerome Johnson. 

The story is ultimately about the price the girls will pay for rebelling against the expected norms of their social set and how it impacts their lives. There are a couple of "wow" moments at the end and of course its left wide open for the sequel, Ingenue out in September 2011.

There are quite a few references to drinking and smoking due to the fact those are some pretty key elements to the Flapper lifestyle and, well, Speakeasy's were places to drink during prohibition! Regardless, I don't feel it was glamorized and I think this book is perfectly fine for ages 12 and up.


Liz said...

This is a great review, Vixen sounds like such an interesting read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

GMR said...

Great points! Definitely one I enjoyed reading and recommending (hehe)....the first complete 1920's era read for me, but I intend on trying another very soon. Eyeing up BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS for a try. Thanks for sharing your reading adventure....and happy reading!

javaintheam said...

I am so glad you reviewed this! I have not read anything about it, but I saw it in the store. I kind of skipped over it because I could not finish Bright Young Things. Now, I will give Vixen a try.

Lauren said...

I really like the flapper era too, so I'm quite keen on giving this one a go. And I had no idea The Luxe was steamy! I guess the covers gave me a different impression.