Date: 26th April 2016
Format: Paperback ARC
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Thanks to Hachette NZ
It’s 1922 in the Manhattan of gin, jazz and prosperity. Women wear makeup and hitched hemlines – and enjoy a new freedom to vote and work. Not so Evelyn Lockhart, forbidden from pursuing her passion: to become one of the first female doctors.
Chasing her dream will mean turning her back on the only life she knows: her competitive sister, Viola; her conservative parents; and the childhood best friend she is expected to marry, Charlie.
And if Evie does fight Columbia University’s medical school for acceptance, how will she support herself? So when there’s a casting call for the infamous late-night Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway, will Evie find the nerve to audition? And if she does, what will it mean for her fledgling relationship with Upper East Side banker Thomas Whitman, a man Evie thinks she could fall in love with, if only she lived a life less scandalous?
From the time I opened and started reading A Kiss From Mr Fitgerald, I was enchanted and found myself returning to the book every moment I could. I loved it.
It is set in the 1920's when to be a woman was a matter of making a good marriage and then raising children, attending the right parties and embroidering at home. Imagine! However Evie dreams bigger than that. An incident close to home, a very sad one, leads her to her chosen path. She decides she wants to be an obstetrician. A very unusual choice for a young woman in that era and place. Today it would be applauded, back then it was something society frowned upon.
As her parents don't support her she joins the Ziegfeld Follies and by night earns the money she needs to study and learn. It is a long hard day and night for her, yet she perseveres in the face of male opposition and prejudice. Not only that, estranged from her family and a past friend making life very difficult for her, everything seems against her. Yet there a friends who support her and see her through.
There is a mystery child that Evie becomes attached to, a man - Thomas Whitman, that she comes to love. Evie is both highly intelligent and full of love and compassion. When it comes to making choices she unselfishly puts others first. It costs.
I loved the whole historical background and what it was like for women in those days. It was rather horrifying to read of some of the childbirth practices and attitudes prevalent in that time. A woman's touch was certainly needed. I cheered Evie along all the way.
Natasha Lester has penned an absorbing, clever book, with characters that came alive off the page. I enjoyed the drama, the humour, the sadness, the romance and the time period. Fantastic read. And totally adore the cover.