AUTHOR: JOY CALLAWAY • CATEGORY: HISTORICAL ROMANTIC FICTION • PAGES:368
I was lucky enough to win an uncorrected proof copy of the book from the good people at Allen and Unwin. This has not impacted my review.
Set in the Bronx in the late 1800’s we are introduced to an extraordinarily talented family of artists. Virginia Loftin is the writer in the family and has dreams of being a successful novelist. She has been in love with Charlie the boy next door and is certain that it is requited until he devastatingly proposes to a girl from a wealthy family for financial gain. Virginia is distraught and pours her emotions into writing. Her brother is fiercely protective and vows that their financial status will not be the undoing of their happiness in the future. He introduces her to his friend John Hopper who hosts the Fifth Avenue Artists Society, a gathering of musicians, actors, writers and painters. The Society is just what Virginia needs and with the growing romantic intentions from John she may just be getting over her broken heart. But what else is the Society hiding? Could it be the undoing of them all?
I had an issue with this book… I started reading it with the intention of just reading a couple of chapters while my sons were having a nap and then on to mummy chores. Oh dear I was a fool. Two hours later my kids wake up I havent moved bar making another cuppa, I have eaten at least four biscuits on the side of too many in a literary trance and I don’t want to put the book down!
The characters in this book were deeply engaging. Some books tend to be location rich while others are character rich. The Fifth Avenue Artists Society is definitively the later of the two. Whilst the book focused around the central character of Virginia (Ginny) and her story, the numerous supporting characters are just as engaging which is a rarity. Days after finishing this book the characters would pop into my head at the most random of moments and I was thinks of them as old friends I hadn’t heard from in a while, not fictional people. This may be because the author actually based many of the central characters on her own ancestors who were a family of artists. Having such a personal connection to characters has made them vivid, alive and engaging.
This is a stunning book. It is hard to fathom that this is Joy Callaways debut. I eagerly await the release of her next book Secret Sisters .
Overall Rating: ￼￼￼￼￼ ￼4.5/5 teacups
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