“1962. In the middle of Brooklyn Heights sits the Starlite: boutique dress shop by day, underground women’s club by night. Started by the shop’s proprietor after her marriage crumbled, Madeline’s social club soon becomes a safe haven for women from all walks of life looking for a respite from their troubled relationships and professional frustrations. These after-hour soirées soon bring two very different women into Madeline’s life–Elaine, a British ex-pat struggling to save her relationship, and Lisa, a young stewardess whose plans for the future are suddenly upended–irrevocably changing all three women’s lives in ways no one could have predicted.
But when Madeline’s ne’er-do-well ex-husband shows up again, the luster of Starlite quickly dampens. As the sisterhood rallies around Madeline, tension begins to eat at the club. When an unspeakable tragedy befalls their sorority, one woman must decide whether to hide the truth from the group or jeopardize her own hopes and dreams. Sure to appeal to readers of Kathleen Tessaro and Suzanne Rindell, Glimmer As You Can captures the heartbeat of an era and the ambitions of a generation of women living in a man’s world–a world threatened by a wave of change.”
-Synopsis from Goodreads
I came across this book and the author through Instagram. I haven’t read much historical fiction set in the 60s and the synopsis was intriguing so I decided to keep it on my TBR for a rainy day. I ended up reading it a couple of weeks ago, over the course of a weekend, and enjoyed it.
The story centers on Lisa, Elaine, and Madeline. Each were interesting characters and I couldn’t really decide which was my “favorite” but I thought Elaine’s personal story of breaking into the journalism industry was especially compelling.
I was also intrigued by Lisa’s experiences as a flight attendant which were very eye-opening. The regular weigh-ins at the airline, in particular, sounded awful. Madeline, owner and creator of the Starlite, was also a dynamic character. Each chapter rotated between their stories and viewpoints, which didn’t always coincide but when they did it was usually at the Starlite.
Not only have I not read many books set in the 60s, but I also wasn’t present for the 60s, so I can’t speak to how “accurate” this book is. However, it seemed realistic to me and the writing definitely painted the picture and made me feel as though I was right there with the characters. Everything the clothing to the dialog to the mentions of current events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis contributed to the setting which I thought was very well done. It was very immersive and effortless.
I was shocked by the twist at the end, which in hindsight I shouldn’t have been based on the synopsis. I was worried it wouldn’t be resolved by the end of the book, but thankfully it was. It was an appropriate ending for the story.
Overall this was an easy-breezy read. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories about female friendships, historical fiction, or is simply looking for a nice book to spend the weekend with. I would definitely read future books by Danielle Martin.