Vintage £7.99 (326pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop : 08430 600 030
Angel of Brooklyn, By Janette Jenkins
Friday 28 August 2009
The turn-of-the-century traffic between American and British high society has inspired any number of biographies and dramas. In her third novel, Bolton born Janette Jenkins turns the tables on the Astors and Cunards, describing an exchange of a less high falutin kind.
It's January 1914 when Jonathan Crane returns from his travels with Beatrice, his beautiful American bride. A former Coney Island showgirl, Beatrice immediately becomes the focus of village attention: the men drawn by her New World good looks, the women by her stories of fast food and fairy lights. But as the realities of war take hold, and Jonathan and his friends sign up, Beatrice's liberated ways feed the jealousy of the wives and mothers left behind. Alternating between Blighty and Brooklyn, Jenkins's richly imagined period piece follows Beatrice from her eccentric, motherless childhood in Normal, Illinois, through to her short spell as Coney Island's top attraction.
Dressed in nothing but a pair of white feathered wings, she wins the admiration not only of drooling daytrippers, but a successful German photographer. Happy to answer her new English friends' questions about saltines and spaghetti, Beatrice wisely keeps shtum about her brief involvement in the lucrative world of peepshow porn.
It's a tall order to mix American Gothic with northern provincialism, but Jenkins puts the entertainment of her readers first. A buoyant novel, that bottles the seasonal delights of Coney and Morecambe Bay.
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
EastEnders Christmas special, review: Brilliant Danny Dyer glues you to your seat
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
Doctor Who series 9: Jenna Coleman staying on for whole season as Clara Oswald
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader