Vixen is a YA historical and the first in a new series titles The Flappers by Jillian Larkin.
It's the Roaring Twenties and seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody is a good girl. She goes to a good school, gets good grades, and is engaged to a good Chicago family young man. But underneath all that she is entranced with the mere idea of flappers, with their bobbed hair, booze, and smoky speakeasy lives. Is it possible to explore the world that so fascinates her before she is married and firmly part of high society forever...?
Clara Knowles, Gloria's visiting cousin, has seen it all and done it all - but only a select few know. So Clara decides to take the opportunity to reinvent herself and become the innocent farm girl everybody believes her to be and devote herself to making sure Gloria's wedding goes off without a hitch. But will her secrets, some of which nobody knows, come back to haunt her...?
Gloria's best friend Lorraine Dyer has always lived in Gloria's shadow, and she's sick of it. Especially when it comes to Marcus, the extremely good-looking and charming good friend of Gloria's, whom Lorraine has been besotted with since pretty much forever. His eyes, apparently, are only for Gloria. But Gloria already has her rich fiance - and Lorraine feels its her duty to make things a bit more fair...
It's 1923 - a time when secrets are dangerous, the mob is around every corner, romances are crushed, propriety is abandoned behind closed doors, young girls reinvent themselves, and anything can happen!
Vixen is a juicy novel, full to the brim with rich details of the flapper lifestyle, loveless engagements, fragile wealth, shocking divorces, lies, heartwrenching crushes, and forbidden attraction. Though sometimes it feels a bit trashy and fluffy, its undeniably fun!
The three main characters are interesting, but do occasionally feel rather empty and similar. Perhaps Vixen could have been better, but it still has this magnetic, if a tad disappointing in its lack of depth, pull to it. Maybe its the fact that it takes place in 1923, a time so lush with detail and flavor. Jillian Larkin, I feel, does a great job at presenting the time period for the reader and then wrapping us in these three lives that take surprising routes.
Despite some slowing of momentum and plot direction in the middle of Vixen, the later twists bring a bit more spark and take it to an, admittedly, ridiculously and kind of awesomely romantic place. And it even becomes surprisingly non-cliche as it nears closer to the end, giving fresh avenues for advancement in the next books.
In fact, with its dramatic, pitch-perfect, highly climatic end and startling cliffhanger, Vixen is one of those books that you don't simply want to read the sequel - you need to read the sequel!