'The Typewriter Girl'
Author: Alison Atlee
Published: Gallery Books; Jan. 2013
Genre: Historical fiction
Synopsis: When Betsey disembarks from the London train in the seaside resort of Idensea, all she owns is a small valise and a canary in a cage. After attempting to forge a letter of reference she knew would be denied her, Betsey has been fired from the typing pool of her previous employer. Her vigorous protest left one man wounded, another jilted, and her character permanently besmirched. Now, without money or a reference for her promised job, the future looks even bleaker than the debacle behind her. But her life is about to change . . . because a young Welshman on the railroad quay, waiting for another woman, is the one man willing to believe in her.
Mr. Jones is inept in matters of love, but a genius at things mechanical. In Idensea, he has constructed a glittering pier that astounds the wealthy tourists. And in Betsey, he recognizes the ideal tour manager for the Idensea Pier & Pleasure Building Company. After a lifetime of guarding her secrets and breaking the rules, Betsey becomes a force to be reckoned with. Now she faces a challenge of another sort: not only to outrun her sins, but also to surrender to the reckless tides of love. . . .
My Take: It's no secret that I love historical fiction. Combine that with a book set in the UK and naturally I leapt at the chance to review Alison Atlee's The Typewrite Girl. It has everything a girl like me could love! If only it could always be so simple.
Set at the turn of the 20th Century, The Typewriter Girl is in fact Betsey Dobbs. She is spunky, to put it mildly, and is barely pulling in a livable wage in London working as a typewriter girl at an insurance company. When she gets the offer to move to a seaside town and become a manageress at a new hotel, she jumps at the chance to improve her life and her standing, because basically what she leaves behind is a mess.
Once starting at her new job things become kind of messy there as well. Perhaps new town doesn't necessarily mean all new life. However, Betsey only wants to move forward and maybe she can even find a new love as well.
I think I would have really enjoyed this novel if not for one thing. Betsey. I love a spunky leading lady as much as the next gal, but this lady swore non-stop, most often when it was inappropriate, and often tried to sleep her way to the top, whether intentionally or not. Not only was that crude to read, it was very incongruent with the timeframe I was reading about. It's one thing for her to make that mistake once or twice, but instead it was a constant part of her character and it lead me to not respect her. For me, no matter what timeframe this book is set, that is not a heroine I can get behind.
However, because of the timeframe and the setting, if you are into historical fiction as well, I can find those who can overlook these items, would probably really enjoy this book because it does move quickly and can be a fun read.
Cover Lust: I adore this cover! It's hard to see on the screen, but the word 'typewriter' is indented as if they were real typewriter keys really lending a fancy quality to this cover.