Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

Description: When she drops out of school and struggles to start a career on Broadway in the fall of 1950, seventeen-year-old Kit Corrigan accepts help from an old family friend, Nate Benedict, a lawyer said to have ties with the mob. Kit isn’t all that surprised that Nate asks her to do some favors for him, but she never thought he would ask her to keep tabs on Billy, Nate’s son and Kit’s former sweetheart.

Review:  Blundell vividly describes the life and times of the 1950s era. I immediately found myself immersed in Kit’s world. The dialogue, attention to clothes, fashion, and music are perfectly and expertly detailed. There is no denying that Blundell loves history. Fans of history and theater will find a lot of things to appreciate here, but other readers may become a bit bored with the overly descriptive narrative as the story circles back and forth through the years of Kit’s life including her Great Depression childhood and her family’s bootlegging past. Sometimes the narrative became a bit too wordy for me, paragraphs  are written where a few sentences could suffice. In fact a lot of the twists and turns in the story were actually anti-climatic as I predicted them before they were revealed.
Besides Kit, the feisty, ambitious teen who wants to rush into adulthood head on, I had a hard time connecting with the other characters. I like to picture myself as a character in the book and to actively participate in the story, with Strings Attached however, I always felt like a stage director watching the scenes unfold from a large distance. The romance between Kit and Billy was there, but I didn’t feel it. I liked that Blundell addressed the prejudices of the time especially with the Irish American community and the beginning of the Red Scare, but this angle wasn’t explored as much as I would have liked. I found myself putting down the book quite a lot and completely forgetting about it.
I actually think Strings Attached would work more as a movie than as a book. Perhaps it would be easier to see the characters and background scenes play out on the screen instead of reading them thus making it a bit more personal and approachable. Nonetheless I would recommend this book for fans of historical fiction and those who love an old fashioned family drama out of the 1950s. I liked this book, but I enjoyed What I Saw and How I Lied much more.

If you like this book try: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen, What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell, Two Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher

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