Books Magazine

The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey

Posted on the 05 July 2017 by Bubblebathbooks
The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey For four young adult immigrant girls living in Boston's North End in the early 1900s, escaping tradition doesn't come easy. But at least they have one another and the Saturday Evening Girls Club, a social pottery-making group offering respite from their hectic home lives-and hope for a better future. Ambitious Caprice dreams of opening her own hat shop, which clashes with the expectations of her Sicilian-born parents. Brilliant Ada secretly takes college classes despite the disapproval of her Russian Jewish father. Stunning Maria could marry anyone yet guards her heart to avoid the fate of her Italian Catholic mother, broken down by an alcoholic husband. And shy Thea is torn between asserting herself and embracing an antiquated Jewish tradition. The friends face family clashes and romantic entanglements, career struggles and cultural prejudice. But through their unfailing bond, forged through their weekly gathering, they'll draw strength-and the courage to transform their immigrant stories into the American lives of their dreams.

Oh my goodness- was The Saturday Evening Girls Club amazing or what? It just sucked me right in from the beginning. This time period is so interesting because it's when all the attitudes and cultural issues started to slowly change - a process that was greatly hastened by World War I. These girls are all from immigrant families and all share some of the same struggles, especially those of poverty and male domination. I have to say that I'm grateful to have been born when I was. I'm not very good at the "meek compliant female" thing and I don't know how well I would have fared back in the day.

You would have been used to it, because you would have known nothing different. However, put your modern-day emancipated self in the body of a circa 1900's girl -

I wouldn't fit. They were tinier back then-

Stop interrupting! So annoying. And I would still be annoyed with you in the 1900's. And you would be kicking and screaming while you fought back against the misogynists and they would throw you in the hoosegow. Then I would forgive you for being annoying and bring you a cake with a file in it.

The hoosegow, hmm? (That's a jail, for those of you who aren't ancient rednecks like Sissy.)

The Saturday Evening Girls Club unites four very different girls in a bond of friendship as they try to make their way under difficult circumstances. Each girl has her own unique character and though they are different, I connected with each one in some way. I must admit that Caprice was my favorite and her dreams and sweet love story were well worth the wait for their culmination. We were delighted to find out that there was a real Saturday Evening Girls Club in Boston and that there were wealthy women, like those in the book, trying to make a difference for girls in their time.

That's what I would have been - a wealthy woman giving back to the less fortunate.

Oh look! I found a picture of you as the circa 1900's wealthy woman. There you are, sailing into the room, bosom first, like a ship. No man would have messed with you!

The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey

Um. Gee. Thanks a lot. Moving on now. I loved the fact that each of the girls in The Saturday Evening Girls Club had her own story but all four stories mingled together so nicely. Each girl gets her own happy ending (more or less) and finds the life that is right for her. A great tale of strong women in a rich historical setting.

Yes. What has always been true but rarely highlighted is that women have come together in every era and circumstance to make things better for themselves and others. Hooray for books that tell these forgotten stories! You readers will love this peek into the lives of early 20th century young women. It will give you hope and make you proud.

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