31 July 2022

Tom Boy by Shelley Blanton-Stroud Book Review! @Booksparks, @blanton and @shewritespress

 


Tomboy: A Jane Benjamin Novel (She Writes Press, June 28

It’s 1939. On the brink of World War II, Jane Benjamin wants to have it all. By day she hustles as a scruffy, tomboy cub reporter. By night she secretly struggles to raise her toddler sister, Elsie, and protect her from their mother. But Jane’s got a plan: she’ll become the San Francisco Prospect’s first gossip columnist and make enough money to care for Elsie.

Jane finagles her way to the women’s championship at Wimbledon, starring her hometown’s tennis phenom and cover girl Tommie O’Rourke. She plans to write her first column there. But then she witnesses Edith “Coach” Carlson, Tommie’s closest companion, drop dead in the stands of an apparent heart attack, and her plan is thrown off track.

While sailing home on the RMS Queen Mary, Jane veers between competing instincts: Should she write a social bombshell column, personally damaging her new friend Tommie’s persona and career? Or should she work to uncover the truth of Coach’s death, which she now knows was a murder, and its connection to a larger conspiracy involving US participation in the coming war?

Putting away her menswear and donning first-class ballgowns, Jane discovers what upper-class status hides, protects, and destroys. Ultimately—like nations around the globe in 1939—she must choose what she’ll give up in order to do what’s right


ShellA person wearing glasses

Description automatically generated with low confidenceey Blanton-Stroud grew up in California’s Central Valley, the daughter of Dust Bowl immigrants who made good on their ambition to get out of the field and into the city. She taught college writing for three decades and consults with writers in the energy industry. She codirects Stories on Stage Sacramento, where actors perform the stories of established and emerging authors, and she serves on the advisory board of 916 Ink, an arts-based creative writing nonprofit for children. She has also served on the Writers’ Advisory Board for the Belize Writers Conference. Tomboy is the second book in her Jane Benjamin series. Her debut novel, Copy Boy, was the first. Shelley and her husband live in Sacramento with an aging beagle and many photos of their out-of-state sons. 


My Thoughts

Copy Boy by Shelley Blanton-Stroud is the second in the series that started with Tom Boy. The protagonist is Jane Benjamin who is a cub reporter, itching to get 'the' story of a lifetime. Jane is the caregiver of her little sister and she just wants to have a good job so she can take care of her. This story takes place mainly on the RMS Queen Mary, there is talk of an upcoming war. 

When the chance she finagles her way onto the RMS Queen Mary to go to Wimbleton. The story she is after is that of a tennis pro and cover girl Tommie O’Rourke. She is excited to cover the story of the star but once she gets there she finds that things are not what they appear regarding Tommie.

At Wimbleton, she witnesses Tommie's coach Edith “Coach” Carlson drop dead in the bleachers. It is suspected that it was a heart attack but Jane thinks otherwise. She wants to write this bombshell gossipy story for her newspaper but she starts to rethink that when she gets to know Tommie and those who surround her.

Jane has a dilemma, should she divulge all she has learned about Tommie and the coach, chance ruining Tommie's career, or should she do what is right?  In Tom Boy, Jane dressed as a boy so she could get her position at the newspaper.  In Copy boy, Jane is a bit more mature and thinking of what is best for her sister and her new friend, Tommie. 

I enjoyed Tom Boy and was excited when the opportunity to review Copy Boy came up. I liked how Jane, grew up from this tomboy to a young lady. I applauded her for wanting to do a job that was historically male-dominated.

Shelley Blanton-Stroud does a wonderful job setting up the atmosphere to the times. Great research to tell a story that is authentic. Her descriptions of the clothing matched the era. Very glamorous. 

Tom Boy is written as a series but can certainly be read as a stand-alone. I would recommend that you read the first one to get the whole context of Jane.  I give the book 4 stars!

I received a copy of the book for review purposes only.



A person wearing glassesDescription automatically generated with low confidenceShelley Blanton-Stroud grew up in California’s Central Valley, the daughter of Dust Bowl immigrants who made good on their ambition to get out of the field and into the city. She taught college writing for three decades and consults with writers in the energy industry. She codirects Stories on Stage Sacramento, where actors perform the stories of established and emerging authors, and she serves on the advisory board of 916 Ink, an arts-based creative writing nonprofit for children. She has also served on the Writers’ Advisory Board for the Belize Writers Conference. Tomboy is the second book in her Jane Benjamin series. Her debut novel, Copy Boy, was the first. Shelley and her husband live in Sacramento with an aging beagle and many photos of their out-of-state sons. 

Praise for Tomboy 

        “Mix Jo March and Tom Ripley, shake well, pour into a martini glass and take a big, brisk, bitter swig of Jane Benjamin. Like me, you’ll be deliriously intoxicated by Copy Boy’s bracing sequel.”—Gretchen Cherington, award-winning author of Poetic License 

       “1939’s Jane Benjamin is a quintessential heroine for now—gritty, gutsy, gender-bending, and driven to fulfill her journalistic ambitions in male-centric bars and smoke-filled San Francisco newsrooms. She’s one difficult girl you want in your corner and on your must-read pile.” —Dorothy Rice, award-winning author of The Reluctant Artist and Gray is the New Black 

 “Riveting as Mare of Easttown, binge-worthy as The Queen’s GambitTomboy will keep you reading—obsessively—until the very last line.” —Debra Thomas, award-winning author of Luz 



 



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