“The fair’s flags soared. Its flowers bloomed. It took hold of the imaginations and got under the skin of all who witnesses its energy and promise, its sights and sounds and smells. It’s scientific advancements astounded. Its global unity promised hope. Its vision inspired those who visited to do something bigger, to be someone better.”
Thank you St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy of WE CAME HERE TO SHINE by Susie Orman Schnall.
“At the iconic 1939 New York World’s Fair, two ambitious young women—a down-on-her-luck actress and an aspiring journalist—form an unlikely friendship as they navigate a world of possibility and find out what they are truly made of during a glorious summer of spectacle and potential…
Gorgeous Vivi is about to begin filming her first starring role in a Hollywood picture when the studio head ships her off to New York as a favor to a friend. She’s assigned the leading role in the heralded Aquacade synchronized swimming spectacular at the World’s Fair, a fate she believes will destroy her film career. If she performs well, she’ll have another chance at stardom, but with everything working against her, will her summer lead to opportunity or failure?
Plucky Max dreams of becoming a serious journalist, but when her job at the New York Times doesn’t pan out, she finds herself begrudgingly working for the daily paper of the World’s Fair. As her ideas are continually overlooked by her male counterparts and her career prospects are put in jeopardy, Max must risk everything to change the course of her life.
When Max and Vivi’s worlds collide, they forge an enduring friendship. One that teaches them to go after what matters most during the most meaningful summer of their lives.”
I’ve read a lot of historical fiction books in my life and the ones that are set during the late 1930s to early 1940s all tend to focus on WWII, which makes sense as that was one of the biggest moments in the world’s history. However, it was very refreshing to read a novel set during this period that did not focus on WWII. Also, I have always been interested in the World’s Fair but haven’t spent much time reading on its history so this was a fun book for me to pick up!
WE CAME HERE TO SHINE was an entertaining and fun read for me. The storyline allowed me to escape from my backyard and travel to New York for the World Fair. I was completely overwhelmed by all that there was to see and learn about at such a huge event! The book offered up photos from the fair, newspaper clippings, and a map of all that there was to see; as I was reading, I would flip back and forth to look at where the characters were and what sites that might be seeing at the time.
I quickly fell in love with both of the vivacious young women that this novel followed. Vivi and Max offered so much insight into the world of 1939 and what many women struggled with at the time. Also, I enough that while there was some love interest between Vivi and Dean and then with Max and James, that wasn’t the sole focus of the storyline.
Overall, I enjoyed this glimpse into the history and I would recommend it to others who are looking for a new historical fiction book to add to your reading list! I would like to point out that there is mention of sexual harassment in the workplace – if this is something that you are concerned about, please let me know and we can chat!
WE CAME HERE TO SHINE will be published on June 16, 2020, and is available to pre-order now!