Sunday, September 17

Book Review: Woman Enters Left by Jessica Brockmole

Author: Jessica Brockmole
Title: Woman Enters Left
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 352
Published: August 2017
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)

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.

This story follows three women who go on a journey for three different reasons: Florrie to run away to California and make something of herself, Ethel to try and get her husband and child back, and Louise who needs to find herself and what she really wants in life. 

I enjoyed the stories of these women. After a couple of chapters, I could NOT put this down. I finished reading this in a couple of sittings. 

It did take a minute to warm up to Florrie and Ethel's story, but once I really understood more about these women the more I looked forward to their stories. I think it also took me a while to get used to the different format when it would switch to Florrie and Ethel. It was for sure different and you really have to pay attention, because Ethel sometimes adds her own writings to the diary Florrie is writing. It worked, but I feel like there could've been a different way to share Ethel's POV. 

What I really liked about this story is the side characters and how important of a role they play in all the women's stories. I really felt bad for Arnie, Louise's hubbie. I wish I could feel bad for Carl, but his reason for leaving Ethel and taking the kid with him was crappy. I wanted Ethel to yell and scream and be mad when she found out. I think Carl was a real jerk. Especially how he kept so many secrets from Louise. Not cool. 

I loved the complexity behind Florrie. I think she ended up being my favorite character. I can't help but adore really complex characters. 

The ending was the best. I loved how everything tied together and we got all the answers. The "article" snipbits were an added bonus and I think it was a nice way to get a good understanding. I'm happy with how everything ended. So good. 

Overall, this was good. I wasn't 100% in love with the format with the POV for Florrie and Ethel, but it worked. I really loved the whole journey all the women took. It makes me want to do a long road trip like that. I think being on the road for that long really does give time for someone to reflect upon their lives and who they are. I'll give this 4 stars. 


vvb32 reads said...

Sounds like a good one - especially when in the road trip mode.

Anachronist said...

Sounds really like sth I might enjoy as well!

Blodeuedd said...

SIGH, I have the wrong title..
WOMAN not women, I can not read

Carol said...

Sounds like the format might now work for me. Glad you enjoyed it though.

Carole Rae said...

vvb32, yes. Even reading this ON a road trip would be fun

Ana, you never know ;)

B, LOL it would make more sense if it was WOMEN since the story is about three women.

Carol, thanks! The format is not for everyone.

Passages to the Past said...

Thank you so much for your great review & for hosting Jessica's Blog Tour, Carole!

HF Virtual Book Tours