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The Girls at the Kingfisher Club: A Novel (Paperback)
A wild, intoxicating retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" fairy tale, set in Manhatten during the roaring 20s. Be prepared to stay up all night not dancing, but rather reading this novel about sisterhood, speak-easies and not-so-high society.
--Keith— From Keith's Picks
“Dressed up in the thrill and sparkle of the Roaring Twenties, the classic fairy tale of ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’ has never been more engrossing or delightful. Valentine’s fresh, original style and choice of setting make this a fairy tale reimagining not to be missed” (Library Journal, starred review).
Jo, the firstborn, “The General” to her eleven sisters, is the only thing the Hamilton girls have in place of a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of the confines of their father’s Manhattan townhouse and into the cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off.
The girls, meanwhile, continue to dance, from Salon Renaud to the Swan and, finally, the Kingfisher, the club they've come to call home. They dance until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn’t seen in almost ten years. Suddenly Jo must balance not only the needs of her father and eleven sisters, but her own as well.
With The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, award-winning writer Genevieve Valentine takes her superb storytelling gifts to new heights, joining the leagues of such Jazz Age depicters as Amor Towles and Paula McLain, and penning a dazzling tale about love, sisterhood, and freedom.
About the Author
Genevieve Valentine is the author of Persona and of the critically acclaimed novel Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, which won the Crawford Award for Best novel, as well as a nomination for the Nebula Award and the Romantic Times Best Fantasy of the Year. Her short fiction has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award and the Shirley Jackson Award. She lives in New York City. Visit her at GenevieveValentine.com.
"A mesmerizing, surreal retelling... Valentine’s dreamlike narrative brings the Brothers Grimm tale alive with intrigue and gritty descriptions of the Roaring Twenties."
— The Washington Post
“I'm completely confident in stating, without an ounce of hyperbole, that this is the best fairy tale retelling I've ever read... The beating heart of this book is a love of dance and a love of sisters.... Even more than the characters, their voices, or the sharp quiet slicing of the understated prose, what I loved about this book was its own tense dance with its source materials... There is so much more I want to say about this book: about the ways in which women protect and support each other; about the way they feel like antidotes to The Great Gatsby's brittle ciphers; about the pitch-perfect dialogue; about the dancing. I can't stop re-reading this book for the dancing and the fierce, scalding love the sisters have for it."
“As sharp, sophisticated and refreshing as a flute of champagne, Genevieve Valentine’s The Girls at the Kingfisher Club will make you want to strap on dancing shoes and find an all-night speakeasy to call your own.... Ms. Valentine said, in one of the effective parenthetical asides that dot the novel, that 'some stories worked better if they weren’t true.' But this story, whimsical as it sounds on the surface, rings true in all the ways that count.”
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Dressed up in the thrill and sparkle of the Roaring Twenties, the classic fairy tale of 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses' has never been more engrossing or delightful. Valentine's fresh, original style and choice of setting make this a fairy tale reimagining not to be missed.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“The novel shines… The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is like a jittery Charleston—loose, fast, and fun.”
"Valentine’s creative retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” is as vibrant and colorful as the era — so evocative, well drawn, well cast and well played that readers will be enthralled. This is a story of sisterhood, a passion for freedom and love that will resonate with many women. The novel calls readers to cheer on these girls as they strive for independence, and Valentine’s ability to make them each distinct and appealing sets this tale apart. Simply a delight to read!"
— Romantic Times, 4 1/2 stars
"This unexpected fairytale, deftly shifted into the age of prohibition, becomes a gorgeous and bewitching novel."
— Scott Westerfeld, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Uglies and Afterworlds
“Delightful and suspenseful by turns, this story of tyranny, pluck, fierce love and even fiercer responsibility is set in a New York of spangles and speakeasies, fox-trots and Charlestons. Valentine retains the shimmer and shadows of the fairytale that underlies her novel, even as she transforms it.”
— Christina Schwarz, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Drowning Ruth
"Valentine’s novel has glamour in spades, evocative of the Jazz Age’s fashions and dance crazes and the dark side of prohibition."
— Historical Novel Society
“Valentine raises the novel above the ordinary...Impressive."
— The New York Times
"Has a cinematic sweep... [and] lush period detail."
— Publishers Weekly
"The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is as fast-tempoed and intoxicating as a night at a Jazz Age speakeasy, and as enchanting as a good old-fashioned fairy tale. Genevieve Valentine gives us a dozen dazzling sisters it's impossible not to root for."
— Lois Leveen, author of Juliet's Nurse and The Secrets of Mary Bowser
“Genevieve Valentine has turned out an extraordinary and marvelous new thing from very old clothes. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is a sumptuous rendering of one of my favorite fairy tales.”
— Kelly Link, author of Pretty Monsters and Magic for Beginners
"I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and stayed up late to reach the end. Genevieve Valentine resurrects 1920s
— Ronlyn Domingue, author of The Mercy of Thin Air
"Intoxicating... Stands apart thanks to dynamic characters and a resoundingly well-rendered setting."
“Unique and elegant... An artful book that asks important questions about art and creation that you'll be left pondering long after you've closed the last page."