Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
Summary: Cordelia and Letty leave their small town in Ohio and set out for New York City. Cordelia wants to find her father—the most notorious bootlegger in the city—and Letty wishes to be an actress. But making it in NYC isn’t as easy as it seems.
My thoughts: It’s no wonder Anna Godbersen is well-known for her historical fiction: she molds her writing to perfectly fit the time period. Bright Young Things is practically dripping with decadence. It’s a tremendous feat when an author can capture the essence of an era—and Godbersen has done it. (Disclaimer: I am not, in fact, from the 20’s, so I’m not the authority on these things. I do however have a fondness for Fitzgerald. So.)
Bright Young Things is all about the American Dream—stumbling upon wealth and happiness in New York City—and two girls who find their own. Cordelia and Letty begin their journey together, but they shortly separate. I like that Godbersen chose to separate her two protagonists, allowing them to achieve things on their own, rather than as a pair. It fits with the theme of the story, and it also allows us two different perspectives on 20’s NYC. Both perspectives are interesting, but Letty’s story spoke to me the most, particularly because she fights harder for her dreams. Letty is the girl readers relate to, and Cordelia is the girl readers wish to relate to.
Bright Young Things isn’t all glitz, though—Godbersen keeps things realistic with her portrayal of romance in the 20’s. I liked that Godbersen chose to keep the treatment of women in her book accurate to the time period, despite how icky it sometimes feels. It’s this attention to detail that makes Bright Young Things a truly believable book.
There is a romance that is less…one-sided, and although it probably won’t make readers swoon (I didn’t), it’s still fun to read.
If you enjoy historical fiction, or even perhaps if you don’t, I would recommend Bright Young Things. Anna Godbersen’s story is as dramatic as a soap opera—a good one—and it will leave you craving book two.
For those who like: historical fiction, the roaring twenties, drama
Learn more about the author at AnnaGodbersen.com.