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#REVIEW - White Collar Girl, a novel by Renee Rosen
The latest novel from the bestselling author of Dollface and What the Lady Wants takes us deep into the tumultuous world of 1950s Chicago where a female journalist struggles with the heavy price of ambition...
Every second of every day, something is happening. There’s a story out there buried in the muck, and Jordan Walsh, coming from a family of esteemed reporters, wants to be the one to dig it up. But it’s 1955, and the men who dominate the city room of the Chicago Tribune have no interest in making room for a female cub reporter. Instead Jordan is relegated to society news, reporting on Marilyn Monroe sightings at the Pump Room and interviewing secretaries for the White Collar Girl column.
Even with her journalistic legacy and connections to luminaries like Mike Royko, Nelson Algren, and Ernest Hemingway, Jordan struggles to be taken seriously. Of course, that all changes the moment she establishes a secret source inside Mayor Daley’s office and gets her hands on some confidential information. Now careers and lives are hanging on Jordan’s every word. But if she succeeds in landing her stories on the front page, there’s no guarantee she’ll remain above the fold.…
It is the 1950’s. The main character, Jordan, having a man’s name in a male dominant business world in the newspaper reporting industry did come in handy. She was often mistaken for a man and people were surprised when they saw she was a woman. They were worried whether she would get the story right until finally she came across a large story and the woman only trusted her because she was a woman. Now things were starting to change. Jordan took after her father. She felt like the newspaper was in her blood, and this was all she ever wanted to do and be. At the newspaper, they gave her her own article to write, The White Collar Girl. This is where she struggled. She wanted to be like her father. Running out there, digging up stories, being in the thick of things as they happened, however this was not happening.
Engaged, but for as much and as bold as she was becoming for the newspaper, she was not doing so well with her fiance’. Nothing was working out for the wedding, and to top it off, she was required to change religions and become catholic before she could be allowed to marry. Her fiance’ expected her to quit her job after they married and stay home. She had the bug of being a news reporter in her, there was no way anyone was holding her down. The fiance’? We barely met him nor did we get to know him. We went to dinner and met his family and learned more about them than we did about him. I couldn’t tell you a thing about her fiance’. There were no personal moments between them, no dates, nothing, only a family dinner with his parents. I can’t even remember his name, as they never made an appearance together where he got to have input and talk. The silent man.
I really enjoyed this book and felt it could deserve a solid 5 stars had this author written stronger characters, a stronger newsroom along with the characters in the newsroom, (really the newsroom was pretty strong but we were taught about the newsroom instead of being there) and especially in her personal life. The whole story needed to be stronger. It felt like something was lacking, but that wasn’t it, either. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I knew the book a seemed a little simplistic as I read along, but I blew that off to thinking most books are written and geared toward the eighth grade reading level. This book was difficult to read at the same time because some places were boring, most of all in the beginning. It was hard to get started with this book, and I put it down several times thinking I’ll never get through it until I got to about the 30% mark, a third of the way in, or at least that’s when I noticed the book taking off for the better. At this point I finally started to feel like I was really getting into the storyline, and I could feel what this author was trying to portray, but is everyone going to wait this long before they don’t pick this book back up again?
I figured out the problem. This author is giving the reader a written lesson about everything. We were being ‘taught’ about the news, the newsroom, about everything this character is, was, went through, her family, what marriage was like back then and even when the book picked up I still felt like I was being taught, even though the author does have a good story, eventually. A story becomes very strained when that happens, such as this one. Overall, those were my issues with the book.
How could I rate this a 4-star book then? It was a good book. I really enjoyed it once it got going. I struggled rating it a 3-star because it was better than that. This book truly deserves a 4-star, but that is all I’ll go up on it. This author got better once the book got going. I wonder how well her next book will be? Maybe she could lay off the historical facts she relies on so heavily and write a more character driven book because that is what this book is lacking. More three dimensional characters, fully rounded characters. I have not read her previous book, Dollface. I want to very much because I love the 1920’s. Always have. That is on my TBR list.
I want to thank the publisher, Penguin Group Berkley/New American Library and NetGalley for the privilege they granted me in allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!