2 out of 4 stars
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Picture it. Broadway during the 1920s. Florenz Ziegfeld produces a revue called Ziegfeld’s Follies. Girls appear in elaborate costumes bordering on the risque. Gangsters are running rampant from Al Capone to Bugs Moran to Machine Gun Kelly. This is the world in which Agnes “Bobbie” Storey finds herself.
Agnes' family lived in Leaholme until the war nearly closed their inn, forcing them to find work in London. Shortly afterward, her father dies of Spanish Influenza, and Agnes is forced to find a job to help support her family. She manages to land a job at a restaurant belonging to a friend of her father. It is here that she wins The Most Beautiful Barmaid in London contest. This sparks Andre Charlot to offer her a spot in his revue that is traveling to Broadway. She immediately accepts, thus beginning her love affair with fame, success, and New York City.
A Broadway Dream by Jane Hill is a fiction based on the historical person by the name of Bobbie Storey. Amazon has this correctly classified as historical fiction or biographical fiction; however, it was incorrectly classified as romance on OBC. The book is fairly short with only about 200 pages.
It may seem odd, but my favorite part of this story was the ending. I am not familiar with the history of the 1920s, nor the life of Bobbie Storey. Therefore when I read the ending, I was actually taken aback. To me, the ending contributed to the reality of the story. It's unfortunate that I cannot share this ending, but I don't want to spoil it for any who may consider reading this novel. Suffice it to say that the ending almost made reading the whole book worthwhile.
In case you didn't catch the above foreshadowing, I had several issues with this story. First, as I stated above, OBC had this book classified as romance. I viewed it on Amazon before selecting it, but because of the classification, I got the wrong sense of what the book would be. Going into the book with false expectations, it did not fail to disappoint. This is not a typical fiction story with a nice, neat plot wrapped up in a cute package. This is a book that extrapolates the life of a very real person from what little historical facts exist. As such, it comes across as very biographical in nature. It seems to be merely relating a series of events in Bobbie's life instead of having a flowing plot.
In the same vein, there were news articles and historical facts included throughout the story. Sometimes they flowed with what was happening at that point in the story, but other times, they seemed a little out of place. Several times the author sailed on various ships from London to New York and back. It was at this point that the author would insert information about the ship on which she was sailing. While this had nothing to do with the story, it was interesting to see where the various ships came from and who sailed on them. Once again, though, if you are expecting a book with a flowing plot, this will certainly throw you off.
Secondly, the book is filled with grammatical and formatting errors. There are words misspelled, missing punctuation, and missing spaces. There are also chapters where there is no page break, and the chapter flows directly from the previous one. This made it seem like there was no professional editing done. However, I did receive a .doc file, so it is possible that the author made changes after this edition (or at least I'm hoping.)
The most glaring, most egregious error, though, was the changing of viewpoints. This issue was not immediately obvious, as it didn't start until around page 80. From that point on, the viewpoint switches from third person to first person and back again. This occurred with alarming frequency, making the book very difficult to read. The following is a typical sentence from the book. “She had bruising on the right side of my jaw.”
Overall, I found this novel very hard to rate. While it was not what I was expecting, that does not mean it was a horrible story. However, with the errors and most especially the changing point of view, I could not give the book a high rating. Therefore, I rate A Broadway Dream 2 out of 4 stars. This book has potential, especially if you understand what you are getting before you start the novel. I cannot recommend it to anyone, however, until the errors are corrected.
A Broadway Dream
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