Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review and Giveaway: The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee (CLOSED)

The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee
Gallery Books
January 2013
Format: Paperback, 384 pages

First line: Typewriter girls, they oughtn't think too much.

From the back cover: All Betsey Dobson has ever asked is the chance to be viewed on her own merits, but in a man's world, that is the unforgivable sin.

When Betsey disembarks from the London train in the seaside resort of Idensea, all she owns is a small valise and a canary in a cage. After attempting to forge a letter of reference she knew would be denied her, Betsey has been fired from the typing pool of her previous employer. Her vigorous protest left one man wounded, another jilted, and her character permanently besmirched. Now, without money or a reference for her promised job, the future looks even bleaker than the debacle behind her. But her life is about to change...because a young Welshman on the railroad quay, waiting for another woman, is the one man willing to believe in her.

Mr. Jones is inept in matters of love, but a genius at things mechanical. In Idensea, he has constructed a glittering pier that astounds the wealthy tourists. And in Betsey, he recognizes the ideals tour manager for the Idensea Pier & Pleasure Building Company. After a lifetime of guarding her secrets and breaking the rules, Betsey becomes a force to be reckoned with. Now she faces a challenge of another sort: not only to outrun her sins, but also to surrender to the reckless tides of love...

My thoughts: I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I enjoy reading about independent women trying to make their way in life and so when I got the book, it looked like a promising read. It does start off a bit slow, but about halfway through, the pace picks up.

Betsey is trying to make her way in life. She is an independent, smart, resourceful woman who manages to get a job offer to work as a tour manager for a seaside resort - a job that finds her constantly having to prove herself. It seems that bad luck seems to follow her and she manages to get herself into some interesting yet humorous fiascos. The only one who does believe in her is John Jones, her boss.  John has spent the past few years building this resort, his vision often at odds with the higher-ups. He is also trying to find himself a wife - but not just any wife, someone who will help him move up in social status. Little does he know that the heart wants what the heart wants.

I enjoyed getting to know Betsey and John and all the other characters in Idensea. There were some that were immdiately likable, like Sarah and Dora Pink, and some that you just couldn't like, for example, the young lady John was originally planning to marry, Miss Lillian Gilbey, and Avery Nash, the man Betsey was involved in prior to her leaving London for Idensea. 

Each chapter starts with a tip about typewriting from a book called, How to Become Expert in Type-writing by Mrs. Arthur J. Barnes (which seems to be a real book, although there are limited copies available). This was actually my favorite part of the book. Some were clearly written for using an actual typewriter - dealing with the carriage, bell, ribbon, loading the paper, etc, and others could be applied to typing, or even life, in general - "if you form a careless habit in the beginning, you will probably always keep it." Also, the chapter numbers and even the word typewriter on the cover are reproductions of the keys on an actual typewriter - how clever! I remember taking a few typing classes in junior high and high school, using a typewriter and not a word processor or computer. Those classes taught me the typing skills that I still use today and I enjoyed them!

This is a good debut for writer Alison Atlee and I will be interested to see what she writes next. I do wonder if she ever used a typewriter herself. While looking at her website to see if she addresses this, I found that she has a board on Pinterest called The Typewriter Girl Illustrated where you can experience Betsey's world through the places, fashions and events that inspired the story - I loved this and I hope you will check it out!

I received a complimentary copy of The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee from Stephanie at Gallery Books.

Giveaway Information (GIVEAWAY CLOSED):
Thanks to Stephanie at Gallery Books, I have one copy of The Typewriter Girl to give away to my readers.

  • Open to US only
  • Must include email address to enter   
* Mandatory entry - leave a comment telling me if you've ever used a typewriter.

* Extra entry #1 - become a follower of Always With a Book. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries (just leave the name you follow under).  

* Extra entry #2 - please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting, pinning onto Pinterest or posting this giveaway on Facebook (each way you share gets you 1 more entry).  

All entries can be in one email.  


Good Luck!!!



  1. I used to play with my grandmother's typewriter when we would visit her. I think that might be the only time that I have ever used a typewriter! I'm in my late twenties so even in school, I always used a computer!

    - I am a follower (GFC, RSS).
    - I tweeted about the giveaway!

    1. I don't remember if my grandparents ever had typewriters - but I remember having them in school. I went away to college with a word processor!

  2. I used a typewriter for many years for so many purposes since that was all that was available at that time. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. We had a typewriter at home and when I went to work in various offices invoices and letters were typed. What a big change now. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  4. I learned to type on a MANUAL typewriter. I guess that dates me just a bit :)

    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  5. shared on facebook

  6. Never used a typewriter. My mom and grandmother used to tell me stories about when they would write their school papers on typewriters and what a pain it was if you made a mistake.

    I follow on GFC

    I also pinned to pinterest:

  7. Oh man, for the record, I am ONLY 29 years old, okay? And now I will tell you that yes, not only have I used a typewriter, but I HAD MY OWN, and I used to type school assignments on them when I was in elementary school. Wow, I am getting so old...

    LOL. I follow your blog via GFC as well :)

  8. My mom had incredible speed on the typewriter I never used follower tweet at rhondareads.

  9. oh and my email is thewellreadredhead at gmail dot com.

  10. Like Patty, I learned to type on a manual typewriter. I feel so old! I'm glad I don't need to use one anymore - they were such a pain.

    I follow via e-mail (heathercim at gmail dot com)!


  11. I used to type on an old underwood when I was going to Junior High School. I wish that I still had it, it is probably a collector's item now. It was black and heavy and if you typed for long your fingertips were really sore. It never stopped working, it was just outmoded.

    I follow with e-mail (CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com
    and GFC as Carol N Wong.

    I tweeted:


  12. I used a typewriter once or twice when I was little and we didn't have a computer yet. My Dad used to use it as he was a teacher. It was fun, but it you mess up it was a big hassel.

    I follow via GFC: Meghan Stith

  13. I used a typewriter when I was young. This looks like an intriguig book. Thanks for the giveaway.
    -Facebook fan
    -follower by GFC

  14. I use a typewriter at work to type envelopes. Thank you for the chance to win this book.

    I am a gfc follower - griperang
    I posted on my blog -
    I posted on facebook -!/angela.holland.359/posts/133812730119226

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  15. Oh yes! When I was little (like about 55 years ago) I used to play with my grandparents OLD typewriter (and it was old at that time even, lol). Then in high school I took typing where I finally learned the correct finger placement, on both manual and electric.

    I am now following by GFC (wfnren) and email.

    I blogged here:


  16. Yes I have used a typewriter.

  17. And I follow as Renee G on GFC

  18. Ah, thinking about typewriters arouses mixed feelings in me....for one thing, I was pretty good and fast, but made errors sometimes. I hated using the various corrective measures. But I had to earn my living typing while attending college (for the first year or so).

    I'm so glad to have computers now!

    This does sound like a book I'd enjoy. Thanks for sharing this great review.

  19. I used a typewriter while in high school. In fact, I just sold it for my mom a month ago. A man bought it for his grandma. She didnt't want a "fancy" electric typewriter.

  20. I have used typewriters many times (that was how you had to type your reports, etc. in college when I went to myself there). :) I have a vintage manual sitting in my guest room that I still like to use for creative projects. :)
    Thanks so much for your giveaway. If the book is as good as the cover, then it will be a very good one (LOVE the cover). :)

  21. I'm French in my late 40s, so yes I definitely used a typewriter, even to do my 1st translations - which means I had to start over quite a few times!!
    I follow you through google reader [wordsandpeace / emma cazabonne], and here is my tweet:
    ehc16e at yahoo dot com

  22. I've been so curious about this book and I'd love to win a copy :)


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