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! I received a complimentary copy of “Woman Enters Left” direct from the publisher Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I wanted to read this release and a note about why I had to postpone participating in the blog tour: or rather, (if you prefer) how Jorie is a lot like Ms Brockmole in her passion for Ephemera & the Historical Past!
I still remember when ‘At the Edge of Summer’ released and how enthused I was for the ‘next’ Jessica Brockmole novel – as she had truly captured everything I love about narrative prose in a uniquely stylised novel within her debut of “Letters from Skye”. Although, her sophomore release was strikingly different than her debut – I was still keenly interested in reading it – could have theoretically as my local library purchased a copy of it, however, it is one of the many titles I’ve placed myself in a holds queue to receive, finding the hours eclipsing off my clock as soon as it arrives to be read! Ergo, it’s her third novel ‘Woman Enters Left’ which is my second reading of hers, rather than my third entreaty into her literary style.
And, what a treat is is for me! I personally *love!* anything to do with the historic past and everything associated with ‘vintage or ephemera’! The two are not connected – as by the ‘historic past’ this is a broad stroke I’m using to talk about how large in scope History is to explore through literary fiction whereas when I refer to ‘vintage’ and ‘ephemera’ I’m talking about a more specific time period – generally contained within the 20th Century, though with some leanings into the 19th.
I first stumbled into vintage art practices when I took up small (mixed media) art collages in my late twenties – if your familiar with Tim Holtz, you know a smidge about what I’m referring too. Let’s just say ‘distressed inks’ were one of the greatest inventions! lol Resources such as vintage image and ephemeral discs curated by collectors and artists themselves helped move the artistic style forward for those of us unable to collect as much as we’d prefer!
However, despite taking a hiatus from my artistic wanderings (as I traded in my mixed media supplies for fibre; hereinafter being Knitty!) I still remember browsing through early-attic shoppes, vintage emporiums, yesteryear auction houses and thrift shoppes of all kinds – seeking not only the obvious, the tangible bits of the past (ie. Postcards, Letters, Photographs, etc) but the not so obvious – the artwork, the jewelry, the furniture, the quilts and the china! Have you ever just humbly browsed the dish rooms at these places? Still my soul!
You can step through a portal of time – not just observing the changes in technology and manufacturing but you can ‘touch’ time itself. You can peer into people’s lives simply by what is left behind after they’ve past on from this world and rightly, start to piece back together a fragment of ordinary life in specific time periods! This is one reason I’ve been drawn into Historical Fiction (and all it’s lovely sub-genres) – it’s a fusion of what is known, what is suspected and what is investigated (or rather sleuthed out) by writers to become ‘re-known’ once again.
I definitely could relate to the conversation with Ms Brockmole in the back of ‘Woman Enters Left’ about how one tangible fragment of the past can hold one of the keys to re-immersion into a time period earnestly being sought in today’s 21st Century world. It is similar to why I dreamt of owning a retro (manual) typewriter and was happily surprised when I saw a late 1930s/early 1940s Royal being gifted to me by my Mum and Dad a few years ago! It still needs a good cleaning and some new ink – but guess what? It still types! It is only one of many I shall be collecting to use – as I truly want to ink out my fiction and poetry on vintage typewriters – I started off with an electric typewriter before I moved to typing my words on a computer – something never quite ‘clicked’ as having the same attachment of ‘centre’ for me.
Computers are lovely (don’t get me wrong!) however, I think the Typosphere has one thing right: sometimes going back a few steps has more freedom than taking a leap forward. The Typosphere for those who are unfamiliar is a collective of typewriting bloggers – wherein, they ‘type’ their blog posts on ‘typewriters’ (most of which are vintage & retrofitted) then scanning their ‘posts’ to upload into their ‘blogs’ – hence it’s called “The Typosphere”. It’s quite the charming collective! I stumbled into their community several years ago whilst seeking out the ‘letter writers’ in our world of technology – as I’ve been a letter writer since I was eleven years old with perhaps, a decade of hiatus between then and now. It’s something I’m working towards returning too in full haste, as I do miss communicating through postal mail. There is a ‘whole’ world within the internet where people are scaling back their technologic presence and re-affirming things of the past which still are relevant for today. For those who are curious – point your browser to The Letter Writers Alliance, it’s a good place to start! Whilst the blog at The Missive Maven will be your best gateway into the community at large! If you’d like to see my Royal, direct your mouse to this Post!
In regards to the delay in my participation the blog tour, I hinted about the reason in brief during my Sunday Post; however, it is my absolute joy to have read this novel this first week of October as it was a wonderful reunion with an author I already admired and a novelist who entices us all into a special perspective on the past which has a breadth of wonder all of it’s own.
Notation on Cover Art: The arrangement of the cover design is right on ‘point’ to the title and has the best authentic to the era cognition you are hoping to find about a story which hinges on the legacy of a Mum re-visited through her daughter whose about to re-trace her steps quite unexpectedly on Route 66! Even the car, looks exactly how I was envisioning it whilst I was reading the story-line and I love her outfit!
Woman Enters Left
A woman sets out on a cross-country road trip, unknowingly tracing in reverse the path her mother traveled thirty years before.
In the 1950s, movie star Louise Wilde is caught between an unfulfilling acting career and a shaky marriage when she receives an out-of-the-blue phone call: She has inherited the estate of Florence “Florrie” Daniels, a Hollywood screenwriter she barely recalls meeting. Among Florrie’s possessions are several unproduced screenplays, personal journals, and—inexplicably—old photographs of Louise’s mother, Ethel. On an impulse, Louise leaves a film shoot in Las Vegas and sets off for her father’s house on the East Coast, hoping for answers about the curious inheritance and, perhaps, about her own troubled marriage.
Nearly thirty years earlier, Florrie takes off on an adventure of her own, driving her Model T westward from New Jersey in pursuit of broader horizons. She has the promise of a Hollywood job and, in the passenger seat, Ethel, her best friend since childhood. Florrie will do anything for Ethel, who is desperate to reach Nevada in time to reconcile with her husband and reunite with her daughter. Ethel fears the loss of her marriage; Florrie, with long-held secrets confided only in her journal, fears its survival.
In parallel tales, the three women—Louise, Florrie, Ethel—discover that not all journeys follow a map. As they rediscover their carefree selves on the road, they learn that sometimes the paths we follow are shaped more by our traveling companions than by our destinations.
Places to find the book:
Borrow from a Public Library
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on 8th August, 2017
Published By: Ballantine Books,
an imprint of Random House Publishing Group
Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #Epistolary
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge