Friday, May 30, 2014

Empire Girls-Suzanne Hayes & Loretta Nyhan

Empire Girls Suzanne Hayes & Loretta Nyhan Mira, May 27 2014, $14.95 ISBN 9780778316299 In 1918 in Forest Grove, New York their mom died, leaving the older sister Rose in charge of the home while Ivy remained childishly unchanged. Over the next seven years, Rose’s resentment towards her sister grows immensely while Ivy detests her sibling’s prim behavior. When their dad dies, the twenty-something sisters are stunned to learn they are penniless. However the biggest shock is that even their home Adams House went to an older half-brother Asher that neither of the sisters knew existed before the solicitor mentioned him; apparently their dad searched unsuccessfully for his first born. With a photo of Asher in front of a New York City boarding house, the sisters head to Manhattan hoping to find their brother. They easily locate the building in Greenwich Village and obtain a room in the attic so they can ask the occupants questions about Asher. Everyone they talk to insists they never met Asher though the siblings believe they are being lied to. As the sisters in different ways struggle to acclimate to the city, they begin to unravel the truth. Empire Girls is an engaging Roaring Twenties family drama based on the premise of “How ya gonna keep 'em away from Broadway Jazzin around and paintin' the town” (from "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm" (Joe Young, Sam M. Lewis and Walter Donaldson). The storyline captures the essence of the era through the rotating changing eyes of the country bumpkin sisters. The cast purposely is stereotyped to enhance the post WWI celebratory euphoria; leaving fans to enjoy visiting speakeasies to drink illegal booze and dance alongside flappers, while learning the truth about Asher. Harriet Klausner

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