I adore Gill Paul’s writing so I couldn’t be happier than to participate in the blog tour for Gill’s latest book, The Manhattan Girls by sharing my review today. My huge thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.
The Manhattan Girls was published by Harper Collins’ imprint Avon on 18th August 2022 and is available for purchase through the links here.
The Manhattan Girls
NEW YORK CITY, 1921
An impossible dream.
The war is over, the twenties are roaring, but in the depths of the city that never sleeps, Dorothy Parker is struggling to make her mark in a man’s world.A broken woman.
She’s penniless, she’s unemployed and her marriage is on the rocks when she starts a bridge group with three extraordinary women – but will they be able to save her from herself?
A fight for survival.
When tragedy strikes, and everything Dorothy holds dear is threatened, it’s up to Peggy, Winifred and Jane to help her confront the truth before it’s too late. Because the stakes may be life or death…
A new novel from the internationally bestselling author, Sex and the City meets the 1920s in this sweeping tale of love, loss and the everlasting bonds of friendship. Perfect for fans of Fiona Davis, Dinah Jefferies and Chanel Cleeton.
My Review of The Manhattan Girls
Four women become unlikely friends.
Every time I read a Gill Paul book I think, ‘Oh. Gill Paul’s writing is getting better and better. This is her best book to date.’
Guess what? I think The Manhattan Girls is her best book to date! I adored it.
Gill Paul writes with a cinematic accuracy so that reading The Manhattan Girls is more like being in the settings with the characters rather than reading about them. From food to clothing, and from real people and places, to imagined situations and conversations, the writing is a feast for the senses that makes for such an immersive and satisfying read. Through her assiduous research, Gill Paul takes what you think you know about real women in history, turns it on its head and makes it a truly gripping and engaging her-story. In The Manhattan Girls she excels at bringing legendary people into sharp modern focus so that they are utterly fascinating.
I loved the plot and was torn between reading and enjoying the fabulous story-telling as an imaginative and compelling narrative and looking up what happens to see if it was a true event. I didn’t want to give myself any spoilers because I was thoroughly enjoying the read regardless of the fact these are real people involved in it. What works so brilliantly is the silky-smooth blend of fact and fiction that makes The Manhattan Girls an absolute delight to read. There’s such a vivid sense of the era with prohibition and drunkenness, post war austerity and excess, patriarchy and feminism, for example, so that every exquisite moment feels relevant and authentic.
There are weighty themes wrapped up in the narrative too with some sensitive issues explored, but never in a prurient or excessive manner. I won’t reveal too much for fear of spoiling the story. What Gill Paul does so brilliantly is to show humanity in all its facets, so that The Manhattan Girls is a sensitive, mature and intelligent consideration of what it meant to be a woman in the society of the time.
And what women they are. Other than Dorothy Parker, I was unaware of the other women presented here, but as a result of reading The Manhattan Girls I feel I have come to know them intimately. I have been horrified by some of their actions and reactions, I’ve cheered for some of their successes and feel almost as if I have lived vicariously through them. I could not have enjoyed meeting Jane, Dottie, Winifred and Peggy more. In particular, I thought the way Gill Paul presented Dorothy Parker was every bit as witty and scalpel sharp as the woman herself was thought to be, but at the same time she is made human and frail too so that she’s all the more real.
In case you hadn’t guessed, I adored The Manhattan Girls. It’s simply glorious. It’s beautifully written, wonderfully researched and hugely entertaining. The Manhattan Girls is one of my books of the year and you’d be a fool to miss it.
About Gill Paul
Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in the twentieth century and often writing about the lives of real women. Her novels have topped bestseller lists in the US and Canada as well as the UK and have been translated into twenty languages. The Secret Wife has sold over half a million copies and is a bookclub favourite worldwide. This is her twelfth novel. She is also the author of several non-fiction books on historical subjects. She lives in London and swims year-round in a wild pond.
Gill’s novels include The Second Marriage, Another Woman’s Husband, The Secret Wife, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914, Women and Children First about a young steward who works on the Titanic and The Affair set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.
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