Tuesday, April 17, 2018

[Timeless Tour] Review: BACHELOR GIRL by Kim van Alkemade


For my Timeless Tour post today I'm sharing my review for Kim van Alkemade's BACHELOR GIRL!

Keep scrolling to read about the book and Kim van Alkemade, and then keep going to see my thoughts in my review. :)


Source: Received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada
to participate in the Timeless Tour and give an honest review.
Publisher: Touchstone
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 416 (Paperback)

DESCRIPTION

NOW AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

Bachelor Girl plunges the reader deep into life during the Jazz Age…and the revealing of other secrets and confessions will keep readers up all night looking for answers.” —Booklist, starred review

From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 comes a fresh and intimate novel in the vein of Lilac Girls and The Alice Network about the destructive power of secrets and the redemptive power of love—inspired by the true story of Jacob Ruppert, the millionaire owner of the New York Yankees, and his mysterious bequest in 1939 to an unknown actress, Helen Winthrope Weyant.

When the owner of the New York Yankees baseball team, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, takes Helen Winthrope, a young actress, under his wing, she thinks it’s because of his guilt over her father’s accidental death—and so does Albert Kramer, Ruppert’s handsome personal secretary. Helen and Albert develop a deepening bond the closer they become to Ruppert, an eccentric millionaire who demands their loyalty in return for his lavish generosity.

New York in the Jazz Age is filled with possibilities, especially for the young and single. Yet even as Helen embraces being a “bachelor girl”—a working woman living on her own terms—she finds herself falling in love with Albert, even after he confesses his darkest secret. When Ruppert dies, rumors swirl about his connection to Helen after the stunning revelation that he has left her the bulk of his fortune, which includes Yankee Stadium. But it is only when Ruppert’s own secrets are finally revealed that Helen and Albert will be forced to confront the truth about their relationship to him—and to each other.

Inspired by factual events that gripped New York City in its heyday, Bachelor Girl is a hidden history gem about family, identity, and love in all its shapes and colors.
About Kim Van Alkemade

Kim van Alkemade is the author of the historical novels Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl. Her creative nonfiction essays have appeared in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, CutBank, and So To Speak. Born in New York City, she earned a BA in English and history from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a Professor in the English Department at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches writing.

Follow Kim: Facebook | Twitter

REVIEW

When I first heard about Bachelor Girl, there were a few things that immediately grabbed my attention! The first was the fact that it was set between 1920-1940 in New York, which I was really interested in reading about! The second was that the description mentioned that Colonel Jacob Ruppert was the owner of the New York Yankees...since I'm a sucker for baseball, that little fact pulled me in right away! Finally, I was very eager to see just what secrets all of the characters had!

I found Bachelor Girl to be a fairly quick read, but I have to admit that it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. Based on the title and the book's description, I expected the book to mostly follow Helen, but instead it was a dual POV and the story also focused quite heavily on the Colonel's secretary, Albert. I quite liked Albert, but I didn't expect his part of the plot to be so large. Helen's story seemed to take a back-burner to his, and I actually felt like her character was pretty flat in comparison. I liked seeing how they both fit into the New York settings around them though, and I liked that both of them challenged the norms of the time. It definitely made me think!

One of the things that I felt were handled really well in Bachelor Girl was the passage of time. The prologue begins in 1939 at the reading of the Colonel's will, then we jump back to 1919 when Helen, Albert, and the Colonel all become intrinsically connected. Then it skips forward years at a time until we catch back up to 1939 and see what happens shortly after we find out that Helen has inherited the bulk of Jake's fortune and assets. Certain parts did move rather quickly, but they were established enough within the storyline that it didn't feel as if anything had been skipped whenever time moved forward.

I have to admit that what I loved most were all of the bits about the Yankees! I loved seeing the Colonel figure out how he was going to acquire Babe Ruth, and how Helen's brother, Rex, gushed over the sport and the players...mostly Babe Ruth. :P The little snippets about Yankee Stadium, the baseball games...especially the World Series, and the parts with the players were really neat and they definitely were unlike anything I've ever read in historical fiction. I might have to actively seek out more historical fiction with baseball now. :P

Overall, while I didn't quite enjoy Bachelor Girl as much as I'd hoped, I still found it to be an engaging read. It just wasn't quite what I expected. I was expecting more of a romance and for Helen to be a full-blown "bachelor girl." Someone who was very career-minded and independent, which she kind of was at first, but definitely wasn't by the end of the book. I do think that the writing was very strong and I loved that Kim van Alkemade challenged societal norms of New York during the Jazz Age and that she explored self-identity. I'd recommend Bachelor Girl to readers who enjoy historical fiction and love stories that revolve around love, family, and self discovery, especially readers who enjoy stories that challenge beliefs about sexuality, race, and gender.



Follow along with the Timeless Tour on the tour website, www.timelesstour.ca.



You can also find a tour schedule on my
[Timeless Tour] Kick Off Questions & Full Tour Schedule post.




What do you think?
Does Bachelor Girl sound like something you'd like to read?

2 comments:

  1. Our thoughts are similar for Bachelor Girl. My review will be posted on the 20th.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad I'm not alone and I'm looking forward to reading your review, Penny! :)

    ReplyDelete

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