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.
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