A #HistNov #25PagePreview | feat. “Right Back Where We Started From” by Joy Lanzendorfer

Posted Friday, 28 May, 2021 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. Whether I am reading selections from Indie Authors & publishers to Major Trade and either from mainstream or INSPY markets – I am finding myself happily residing in the Historical past each year I am a blogger.

What I have been thankful for all these years since 2013 is the beautiful blessing of discovering new areas of Historical History to explore through realistically compelling Historical narratives which put me on the front-lines of where History and human interest stories interconnect. It has also allowed me to dive deeper into the historic past and root out new decades, centuries and millenniums to explore. For this and the stories themselves which are part of the memories I cherish most as a book blogger I am grateful to be a part of the #HFVBTBlogTours blogger team.

I received a complimentary copy of “Right Back Where We Started From” from the publisher Blackstone Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why I elected to write a smaller review for this novel:

Earlier in May, I was able to resume full-time hours at work and since then, I’ve been working a lot of double shifts – which has altered some of my readings this May all the way round as I’ve been a bit more fatigued than I expected to be as I’ve been slowly re-adjusting to working full-time again since February. I decided to give a sampling of a preview of what my first impressions of “Right Back Where We Started From” were today rather than to feel guilty I’ve been reading this story a bit slower than others given the fact I’ve also have been working on most of my days off rather than to stress about trying to read this too fast. I am enjoying working again but I’ve found it to be a bit of an adjustment to re-find the balances in my life.

I am always keenly fascinated with Old Hollywood and the years from 1900-1949 which is why I have a firm affinity for Classic Movies and stories set round those decades. Everything was just becoming new again and discovered – if you extract the war years and focus on the homefront, it was an interesting time in American History. Especially as there were such landmark changes – for women and men alike and for the industries which were coming online for the first time. Back then, it was easier to find a niche of entrance into the film industry (or rather, perhaps it only appeared to be?) but it also was a moment of great change for our country.

This novel reads like a delishly alive Biographical Historical Fiction piece – as it is rooted in the telling of one family’s generational story – anchoured through the women and told with their own perspectives in tact. I love when authors can take that vantage point and run with it – as if you’ve not only had the chance to live their lives with them but you get to see the backdrop of where in History they had lived, too.

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A #HistNov #25PagePreview | feat. “Right Back Where We Started From” by Joy LanzendorferRight Back Where We Started From
by Joy Lanzendorfer
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

If misfortune hadn’t gotten in the way, Sandra Sanborn would be where she belongs–among the rich and privileged instead of standing outside a Hollywood studio wearing a sandwich board in the hope of someone discovering her. It’s tough breaking into the movies during the Great Depression, but Sandra knows that she’s destined for greatness. After all, her grandmother Vira crossed the country during the Gold Rush and established the Sanborns as one of San Francisco’s most prominent families, and her mother Mabel grew up in a lavish mansion and married into an agricultural empire. Success, Sandra feels, is in her blood. She just needs a chance to prove it.

In between failed auditions, Sandra receives a letter from a man claiming to be her father, which calls into question everything she believes about her family–and herself. As she tries to climb the social ladder, family secrets lurk in the background, pulling her down. Until Sandra confronts the truth about how Vira and Mabel gained and lost their fortunes, she will always end up right back where she started from.

Right Back Where We Started From is a sweeping, multigenerational work of fiction that explores the lust for ambition that entered into the American consciousness during the Gold Rush and how it affected our nation’s ideas of success, failure, and the pursuit of happiness. It is a meticulously layered saga–at once historically rich, romantic, and suspenseful–about three determined and completely unforgettable women.

Genres: Historical Fiction



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781094089027

Published by Blackstone Publishing

on 4th May, 2021

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 400

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Published by: Blackstone Publishing (@BlackstoneAudio)

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov or #HistoricalFiction
+ #RightBackWhereWeStartedFrom and #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Joy Lanzendorfer

Joy Lanzendorfer

Joy Lanzendorfer’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, NPR, Smithsonian, Poetry Foundation, and many others. She was included in The Best Small Fictions anthology and was a notable in The Best American Essays 2019. She has been awarded grants and residencies from the Discovered Awards for Emerging Literary Artists, Wildacres Residency Program, and the Speculative Literature Foundation.

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| Right Back Where We Started From | by Joy Lanzendorfer

The story opens with a thoughtful conversation between a mother (Mabel) and her daughter about how the fortunes of their lives seemed to have reversed whilst others round them seemed to prosper. Her young daughter wanted to know more about what Mabel was imparting to her but wasn’t able to form the right words to ask her anything as she was only seven years at the time. It had a somberness to the scene – where the daughter sees past the veil of the mother’s mood, sees the fragility in the woman and creatively re-envisions her mother as a butterfly.

We slip forward to where Mabel’s daughter is full of moxie and the hope of a promising Hollywood career – when we find her soliciting free coupons for orange juice – her real intentions are landing the eyes of someone who can make pictures and perhaps put her in them themselves. Her entire sensibility about this project of hers is rooted in the idea that if someone can see you, than you have a greater chance of doing something even greater than what they saw you doing in the first place.

Sandra has a lovely attitude about her – even when things aren’t going the ways in which she planned them, she has this resolute personality which makes her even more likeable because she doesn’t easily give in to defeat. She even tries to talk her way out of her troubles – which doesn’t always vet the response she hopes but its how she continues to try to change her destiny that I enjoyed reading the most. How she kept trying to think outside the box and find ways to affect change even if there was a road for her to follow; she was a charging down her own  path and that in of itself was exciting.

I am fascinated with stories which include letters and correspondences – and this lovely has them! It was interesting I felt the letters started to appear when Sandra first received a surprise parcel from her ex-husband – as it became a bit of a sequencing of letters and revelations. Not all of which she believed and more to the point, she was too quick to dismiss. Sandra was definitely the kind of woman who could re-invent herself, her name and her life if she choose to do so without worrying about the past or what might happen if she overlooked certain details she found disagreeable. She’d rather keep control over her own life than to be attached to a life she couldn’t help but to regret.

I knew this story was going to shift between characters and re-align all the characters together lateron, as is the course with intergenerational and generational stories – however, I was wicked happy the story began with Sandra’s life. She was a great entrance character because it showcased how hard one had to work to change their own fate but also, how stubborn someone can be who doesn’t want to re-open doors they’ve already closed. Sandra has a lot of courage but the one place she falters is having the courage to realise that just because a door from the past wants to re-open in her present doesn’t mean it will erase the life she’s lived. It might change some of the details but her life is still her life.

On the Historical styling of Joy Lanzendorfer:

You are pulled into the descriptive narrative quite instantly because of how Lanzendorfer has set your eyes on early Hollywood. From how the roots of the area were still in the farming and fruit orchards to how it was just started to buzz LA into a city of movie stars and film productions. It was on the brink of its new identity in other words – where people were flocking into LA as much as they would have New York City. The two metroplexes were renown for what they could offer a performer and someone who dreamt lush dreams into their minds about what they could accomplish if they could catch the one break which would put them on the right path towards their goals. Here, we get to follow Lanzendorfer’s character Sandra as she embarks on the impossible but with such a cheerful mood about her that endears you to her journey and her quest for stardom.

When this book first arrived one of the first things I noticed about it were the colours on the cover and the artwork – you find out about the prunes straight-off as it has a lot to do with Sandra’s father’s industry and the ways in which her family had been set financially. The colours play off each other well and it makes such a striking cover, I would lament the cover alone would get readers to seek out the synopsis because of how interesting the full effect is with the title and the fruit.

I personally love stories like this one – where the author gives us a firm grounding in the backstory of a character and roots us so directly into where they are when we arrive in their footsteps that it is quite easy to become overcome with the narrative itself. I love drinking in glimpses of a time capsule as well – where you can see and hear and sense a lot about an era your reading by the clues the writer has given you and in that regard this story is smashing because you’re keenly invested in the where and the how of where Lanzendorfer has placed us.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours!

Follow the Virtual Road Map

as you visit others participating: along the route

& learn about the bookaway attached to the tour:

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 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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Reading this story contributed to my 2021 reading challenges:

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Right Back Where We Started From”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Joy Lanzendorfer the tour host badge and HFVBTs badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner, Stories in the Spotlight banner, #25PagePreview banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 28 May, 2021 by jorielov in #25PagePreview, Blog Tour Host, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours




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