Caroline Preston’s beautiful novel is in the format of a scrapbook full of 1920s ephemera. Not only is every page a colorful, dynamic collage of historical artifacts, but the paper is wonderful. While I’m sure this would be fun in an Ebook format too, turning each luxuriously heavy page is an experience not to be missed.
Adult/High School–In June 1920, Frankie receives a scrapbook as a high school graduation present from her mother. She fills every page with full-color collages of photographs, advertisements, tickets, letters, playing cards, catalog cut-outs, and even an image of her dried prom corsage, to name only a few. Frankie intersperses her story on bits of typed text. Growing up in rural New Hampshire, she wants nothing more than to be a writer. This small-town girl of very modest means goes to Vassar on scholarship, does well, and moves to Greenwich Village to pursue her dream. Disappointed in love, she moves to Paris where she successfully works for a literary magazine until she returns home to care for her ailing mother. And falls in love with the boy next door. There are complications, such as the dashing married man who nearly derails her plans more than once. There are nice intersections with literary history. A close friend works at a startup magazine Frankie is certain will fail, which ends up to be The New Yorker. In Paris, Frankie rents a room over the Shakespeare & Company bookstore from Sylvia Beach. The traditional plot is nearly beside the point. This book is all about its visuals, and every vintage piece is carefully selected and perfectly arranged on the page. The paper itself is heavy and smooth and colors are brilliantly reproduced, all of which help the art, style, fashion, and mores of the 1920s come alive.–Angela Carstensen, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City