Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Flappers: Ingenue

The Flappers: Ingenue

Jillian Larkin
Fiction  Series
For ages 16 and up
Random House, 2012   ISBN: 978-0385740371

Not long ago, Gloria Carmody was one of the rich and privileged darlings of high society in Chicago. Everyone expected that she would behave herself, do well in school, and marry the rich, powerful, and handsome young man chosen for her. No one expected that she would develop a taste for speakeasies, and that she would fall in love with a young African American piano player. This is just what happened though, and by ill luck Gloria and her young man, Jerome, got caught up in mob business. When a mobster called Tony Giaconi tried to kill Jerome, Gloria saved her lover by killing the mobster.

Now Jerome and Gloria are living in New York. They cannot seem to get any jobs so they are forced to steal to put food on the table. For the first time in her life Gloria is hungry and thin. She lives in fear that Tony’s friends will find her and Jerome, and the young people are very careful to stay under the mob radar. This is hard to do because they are trying to find work in clubs or speakeasies, places that are typically run my mobsters.

When Jerome’s sister, Vera, finds out that her brother is being targeted by a mob assassin, she decides to go to New York to tell him. Her friend Evan goes with her, and as soon as they get to the city they start trying to find Jerome and Gloria.

Gloria’s cousin Clara is also in New York. Not wanting to incur her parent’s wrath again, she does her best to stay away from speakeasies and other places frequented by hard drinking flappers and their friends. Instead, she hangs out with her boyfriend Marcus and stays out of trouble. Then Clara is offered a job writing a column in a new magazine. The editor wants her to write about the flappers and their doings, to expose how shallow they are. The only problem is that writing about flappers requires that Clara spend time with them, which she has been trying to avoid doing.

Lorraine, Gloria’s ex best friend, in now in New York City as well, working in a speakeasy and waiting to enter Barnard in the fall. Lorraine is working for Carlito Macharelli, who is eager to get his hands on Jerome and Gloria to punish them for killing Tony Giaconi, one of his boys. Lorraine gets to work at one of the clubs Carlito owns, and all she has to do is to help him trap and capture Gloria and Jerome. Eager to avenge herself on the friend who turned her back on her, Lorraine is only too glad to help Carlito. After all, it is a win win situation. Right?

In this second Flappers novel, the story of Gloria, her friends, and her enemies continues. The narrative is full of interesting details, and it is fascinating to go back in time to the Roaring Twenties when the production, sale, and consumption of alcohol was prohibited, and when gangster activity in the big cities was at its peak. Young women were getting their first taste of freedom by cutting their hair, wearing short dresses, and smoking in public.

With a gripping storyline, colorful characters, and plenty of suspense and adventure, this story, told from four alternating points of view, will fascinate readers who have an interest in the Prohibition years.