Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Vixen (The Flappers)
Title: Vixen
Author: Jillian Larkin
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 29, 2011
Pages: 432
Source: ARC from Different Area Codes Book Tours
Interest: 2011 Debut, 1920's
Rating: 4/5

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .

From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.

The movie Chicago is one of my all-time favorites...the 1920's, danger, dancing, flirty dresses and lots of jazz...not to mention murder, manipulation, and intrigue. It's enough to make your head spin, even without the booze thrown into the mix! Based on my love for the movie, and the play, of course, I was really looking forward to reading Vixen (and am still looking forward to reading Anna Godberson's Bright Young Things). 

As far as characterization goes, I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters...I just felt that they were not fully developed. Gloria was very sheltered and whiny about her privileged life, although I did sympathize with her feelings about having her entire life arranged for her. Lorraine, Gloria's best friend, was obnoxiously jealous of Gloria, and I only felt pity for her. Clara...I  liked Clara the best, only I felt that too much was being done to make her "interesting". Scattered throughout the book are various hints about her past life, which are frankly not very intriguing and failed to pique my interest. There is a slight twist revealed at the end that involves Clara, and it helps to round out her character a little bit. Perhaps the upcoming sequels Ingenue and Diva will show us more sides to the girls. As for the boys, easygoing Marcus, snotty Sebastian and musician Jerome were all very appealing and entertaining. 

The plot and pacing were the the true strong points in Vixen. Jillian Larkin kept the story moving along at a fast, but not hurried pace, while the rotating points of view successfully told the many angles. As for plot...a rich white girl moonlighting at a speakeasy while falling in love with a black musician? That's a great story line, and Larkin handled it very well. I was never bored, and couldn't put the book down from beginning to end.

The time period itself here also deserves a mention, I loved all the details and research that were put into this book...I really felt like I was in the 1920's. A movie version would be amazing!

Vixen reads like a guilty pleasure, minus the guilt. It's 3 parts adolescent rebellion mixed with 2 parts steamy romance, shaken with danger, and served with a slice of fun. I am eagerly awaiting the next books in the The Flappers series!
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