Official Review: Waiting in the wings by Geene Rees

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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Eryn Bradshaw
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Official Review: Waiting in the wings by Geene Rees

Post by Eryn Bradshaw » 08 Aug 2018, 15:52

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Waiting in the wings" by Geene Rees.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Ruby Adams was a vaudeville actress who worked with the Will King Follies in 1925. She was in the stage wings, waiting for her act to start when tragedy strikes. A rope holding a three-hundred pound sandbag snapped and landed on Ruby before her performance, breaking her back and ending her career as an actress. Her fiance, John Davis, hires attorney Charles Brennan to sue the New York & San Francisco Amusement Company for compensation for Ruby’s injuries.

Geene Rees’s Waiting in the Wings is about her great aunt. In the introduction, she explains that she had found photographs and newspaper clippings about the vaudeville shows among her grandmother’s things. Through these, she pieced together Ruby’s life. As history forgot the once famous actress, Rees knew she had to tell Ruby’s story before it was lost forever. Even though the court case documents were lost, Rees wrote this historical fiction about her great aunt using the memories from her grandmother, photographs, newspaper clippings, and a tax-evasion case from 1940.

Although Rees took a few creative liberties in Waiting in the Wings, there was a lot of research put into the story. One such creative liberty Rees took was when she had Ruby and John visit Aqua Caliente Racetrack in 1926, but the racetrack wasn’t completed until 1928. The people and sites mentioned in the book were real people and places. Anyone who has lived around the San Francisco area may enjoy picturing these sites while reading the novel. As someone not from the area and not knowing much about San Francisco in the 1920s, the reading piqued an interest to search for things online to get a better picture of the scenes and people. Included in the book are a few photographs, however, no names or dates appeared with them. The novel featured slang from the 1920s, but readers who don't know these terms might struggle to understand them. For example, “crumb bum” is a wealthy and powerful person or “ham-and-eggers” is a speakeasy.

The characters are well developed and the reader roots for Ruby and hopes Brennan will win the case against the theater owners. Rees uses the third person perspective and allows the reader to see all points of view, including the theater owners, Morris Markowitz and Moses Lesser. While chapters and section breaks divide the different points of views, chapter three was difficult to read, with four points of view to keep up with and no section breaks. I reread the chapter to understand everything and everyone. The rest of the book was smoother to read.

I thought Waiting in the Wings was a delightful, quick read for a historical fiction. I enjoyed reading each of the characters’ perspectives. I give Waiting in the Wings 4 out of 4 stars. Though I had difficulty with chapter three, it did not detract from the rest of the book. I enjoyed being transported to San Francisco in the 1920s and following the case of Ruby Adams vs. New York & San Francisco Amusement Company. I found no errors, grammatical or otherwise. Rees was passionate about getting her great aunt’s story out to the world and I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a short historical fiction.

******
Waiting in the wings
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 09 Aug 2018, 02:12

It's touching that the author decided to tell a fascinating story about her aunty. This is something new, and I am sure a lot would enjoy it. Thank you for your review!
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Post by OrlaCarty » 09 Aug 2018, 04:10

What a heartbreaking story. It's reminiscent of stories you hear of athletes who are injured and lose their purpose. Working toward something your whole life to have it ripped away in a moment is soul-destroying. I would love to read this to see how Ruby copes with that. Thank you for the review!

Also, it's very interesting that she is the author's aunt.

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Post by Rosemary Khathibe » 09 Aug 2018, 09:14

I feel bad for Ruby, being injured doing something she was passionate about must have been very painful. Thanks for the great review.

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Post by Bianka Walter » 09 Aug 2018, 09:43

This book sounds great. I'm already rooting for Ruby to win the court case :)
I love that the author included terms from the 20s. It makes the story that much more authentic.
Awesome review!
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Post by Ruba Abu Ali » 09 Aug 2018, 10:44

I would love to read such a passion-filled historical fiction book. I am also interested in knowing more about San Francisco in the 1920s. Thanks for the lovely review!

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Post by Alicia09 » 09 Aug 2018, 11:11

I always love reading historical work, and this sounds like a very well researched historical account of vaudeville life in the 1920's. I am glad Ruby's fiance sued the company, as that adds some level of closure to the painful injury Ruby must have experienced. Thanks for writing such a clear, detailed review!

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Post by Cecilia_L » 09 Aug 2018, 16:32

Such a tragic accident! I would love to read more about Ruby's life during the 1920s. Thanks for the recommendation!

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Post by Eryn Bradshaw » 12 Aug 2018, 14:07

Sahani Nimandra wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 02:12
It's touching that the author decided to tell a fascinating story about her aunty. This is something new, and I am sure a lot would enjoy it. Thank you for your review!
It is so sweet, I agree! I hope you enjoy it if you do give it a read. Thank you for your comment.
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Post by Eryn Bradshaw » 12 Aug 2018, 14:09

OrlaCarty wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 04:10
What a heartbreaking story. It's reminiscent of stories you hear of athletes who are injured and lose their purpose. Working toward something your whole life to have it ripped away in a moment is soul-destroying. I would love to read this to see how Ruby copes with that. Thank you for the review!

Also, it's very interesting that she is the author's aunt.
I didn't even think about athlete stories, but this is definitely up there with those. It's so hard when you lose your purpose and passion due to injury. Thanks for commenting!
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Post by Eryn Bradshaw » 12 Aug 2018, 14:10

Rosemary Khathibe wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 09:14
I feel bad for Ruby, being injured doing something she was passionate about must have been very painful. Thanks for the great review.
I think it's a relatable story though for those who lose the ability to do their passion. It was a good read. Thanks for the comment!
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Post by Eryn Bradshaw » 12 Aug 2018, 14:11

Bianka Walter wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 09:43
This book sounds great. I'm already rooting for Ruby to win the court case :)
I love that the author included terms from the 20s. It makes the story that much more authentic.
Awesome review!
Thanks for reading my review! It definitely gave the story more immersion by keeping 20s slang in the book. I loved it.
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Post by Eryn Bradshaw » 12 Aug 2018, 14:13

Ruba Abu Ali wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 10:44
I would love to read such a passion-filled historical fiction book. I am also interested in knowing more about San Francisco in the 1920s. Thanks for the lovely review!
It was a good read to help with my own interest in 1920s San Francisco! I definitely learned a lot with a few extra google searches on the side. Thank you for the comment!
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Post by Eryn Bradshaw » 12 Aug 2018, 14:13

Alicia09 wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 11:11
I always love reading historical work, and this sounds like a very well researched historical account of vaudeville life in the 1920's. I am glad Ruby's fiance sued the company, as that adds some level of closure to the painful injury Ruby must have experienced. Thanks for writing such a clear, detailed review!
If you end up picking up this one, I don't think you'll be disappointed! Thank you for the comment!
“Live, and be happy, and make others so.”
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Post by Eryn Bradshaw » 12 Aug 2018, 14:14

Cecilia_L wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 16:32
Such a tragic accident! I would love to read more about Ruby's life during the 1920s. Thanks for the recommendation!
You're welcome! I hope you enjoy the read!
“Live, and be happy, and make others so.”
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