Renee Conoulty: The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress by Tam Francis


Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress by Tam Francis

~ The past doesn't always stay in the past. Sometimes it comes to life on the dance floor ~

Enter a world of nostalgic fashion, classic cocktails, and dance halls. 18-year-old June finds herself face to face with one of her deepest desires. Dance. She embarks on a path of discovery and relishes the vintage skirt wrapping around her warm thighs on the crowded dance floor. And the way her partner moves her to distraction by expertly shifting his leg between hers, delicately pushing her into intricately guided steps.

When an accomplished dancer is injured before the international jitterbug contest, June is tapped to take her place. June struggles to overcome her fears, win the contest, and not fall in love with her—otherwise engaged—dance partner.

Fifty years earlier, another 18-year-old jitterbug, Violet, leads the life June and her friends emulate. But Violet's life begins to unravel when she and her sailor beau find her grifting father passed out on her doorstep, blood oozing from his head.

They race against his deployment to tie the knot before the war can tear them apart. When his letters mysteriously stop arriving, Violet is forced to make the decision of a lifetime alone.

Half a century later, while practicing for the contest, June finds an antique dress which may lead her to the one person she's been looking for, her biological grandmother, and the key to unlocking a fifty year-old mystery.

THE GIRL IN THE JITTERBUG DRESS is the parallel story of two young women struggling with love, loss, and redemption, united across generations by a 1940's swing dress.

Hey! Here's my review.

Ever since I took up swing dancing in 2000, I've been on the lookout for swing dancing in a novel. After years of not being able to find any, I decided to write the book I wanted to read (It Don't Mean a Thing). It seems Tam decided to write the book I wanted to read too! Whereas my story is contemporary, The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress is dual narrative between the 1940s and 1990s. 

I loved both the storylines and enjoyed seeing how they fit together. I related to June and her excitement at discovering the swing dance subculture in the USA, it was very similar to many of my experiences in Australia in the 2000s. I loved Violet's story and the insight into life in the 40s. Both storylines felt realistic and were emotionally engaging (yes, emotionally engaging is code for I giggled and maybe cried, just a bit...)

One of the storylines was tied up nicely at the end, but the other storyline has left me hanging for the sequel. I can't wait to read book 2.

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

  • Where: Author Invitation
  • Format: ebook

Tam Francis writes vintage romantic fiction with a pen in one hand and a vintage cocktail in the other. She has taught swing dancing with her husband for fifteen years and is an avid collector of vintage patterns, vintage clothing and antiques.

She has published, contributed to, and been Editor-in-chief for two indie magazines – “From the Ashes” (Arts & Literature in the Greater Phoenix area 1990-1994) and “Swivel: Vintage Living” (swing dancing and vintage lifestyle culture 1994-2000) and various small press magazines

She began blogging her dance adventures years ago on Myspace, but started her novel when her husband shipped out for Iraq and she was alone to raise their two small children.

Look for her short story collection: Ghostoria: Vintage Romantic Tales of Fright and The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress on Amazon and kindle. The sequel: The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress Hops the Atlantic will be out in late 2016.

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  1. What a fab review. You're the best. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and are excited about book 2! I'm working on the ebook now! And wrote half of book 3 for NaNoWriMo!

    Best to you! Thanks bunches and bunches!

    1. Well, it was a fab book! Looking forward to reading the next two :)