In 1920s Chicago three socialite teens flirt with the flapper lifestyle in Jillian Larkin’s debut, Vixen, which is the first in the Flappers series. Gloria is about to be wedded to Sebastian, a young man more interested in her family name than in her. Gloria’s cousin Clara (my favorite character) has just arrived under the pretense of helping with the wedding; only her aunt knows that the move to Chicago is really to escape her scandalous recent past. Finally, there’s Gloria’s best female friend (who would better be referred to as a “frenemy”) Lorraine, who is scheming something big.
Although Vixen is set in the 1920s, it could almost take place in any era as it is quite a universal story of teens struggling to form their own identities. In that way, the story is quite relatable. Gloria is discovering that the life set for her by her parents isn’t exactly the one she wants while Clara has already rebelled and suffered the consequences. Clara was immediately likable and intriguing (the full story of her past isn’t revealed until more than halfway through) which drew me to her. Lorraine, on the other hand, was quite despicable and I never pinned down her motivation other than jealousy, which didn’t quite make sense. Yes, Gloria had a fiancé and a best male friend, both of whom frequently usurped Lorraine, but Lorraine had a lot going for her too. Instead of being married off as Gloria’s parents had decided would be Gloria’s future, Lorraine had been accepted to Barnard.
Review copy provided by the Barnes & Noble First Look program.