The Flapper's Scandalous Elopement
Nothing really roars in The Flapper’s Scandalous Elopement, a Roaring Twenties romance that is exceptionally wholesome and traditional considering it’s set in an era defined by its hedonism.
Jane Dryer is the last flapper standing. Her sisters have gone off and married happily, leaving Jane at home with her rich parents and the dubious honor of being told by her father that she
“…will remain here. . . We needed all this room when I built it because of you girls, and it’s only fair that you help take care of it. . . Forever. There’s no reason for you to get married. You’ll inherit all this.”
Now, sitting alone in The Rooster’s Nest (I always thought that it was the hens that had the nests but, hey, maybe modern equality has reached the barnyard. . .), she encounters David Albright, the Nest’s current piano player. David’s actually got a fortune and is hiding out from his family who want to marry him off ASAP. Jane and David agree to marry on the conditions that she’ll attend a family gathering in his hometown of Chicago to quell any further attempts at making him part of a dynastic alliance and after a “quickie divorce” he’ll pay her whatever she needs to be liberated from her parents.
The Flapper’s Scandalous Elopement, with its just-before-Thanksgiving setting and emphasis on the magic of snow angels, hot chocolate, and family reunions in a wintery Chicago, has a cozy holiday atmosphere that I really liked. In keeping with that vibe, Jane is a sort of ‘God Bless Us, Everyone’ Tiny Tim of a heroine, who mainly functions as the conduit for reconciliation between David and his brother. Also like a child, and somewhat more frustratingly, Jane has a childlike blank attitude towards her life. The story emphasizes how goal oriented her sisters are – one towards her career and the other towards motherhood – but Jane’s goals remain nebulous throughout the entire book, never more specific than “to see the world” and “helping others”, the latter of which seems to consist of providing funding to soup kitchens.
The family element is leaned on so heavily in this book, and resolved so perfectly, that the HEA for the sibling and parent-child relationships overshadow the romantic HEA. Jane’s parents and their strict parenting style, in particular, are advertised as the main antagonists of the series, but they are revealed at the end to be great people. ‘Surprise!’ Robinson goes, ‘it was all a perception problem!’ They were actually super loving parents, everyone just got confused by how they expressed it. This quick change is both irritatingly saccharine and makes the entire series feel somewhat pointless – why did the girls need to embark on this great adventure if there actually was no villain in their story motivating them to find better lives?
The writing style is a little too on the nose at times; Robinson’s style of having David point out when Jane has just said something clever or sarcastic or gutsy did not amuse me. Also, the author’s passion for linguistic historical accuracy results in regular character exclamations of “horsefeathers”, “bee’s knees”, and “elephant’s eyebrows”.
This is a subtle-level romance for most of the book – there’s a warm-ish exception at the end in the form of a marriage consummating scene – but it didn’t ever lift any hairs on my arms. And it’s the only romance I can think of that includes the Single Bed Trope and then makes no effort to actually use it. If you want dynamite subtle-level romance set in the 1920s, I refer you to Simone St. James’ historical romance suspense.
What keeps this book from a D is its overriding aftertaste is one of holiday cheer, and that its weaknesses don’t especially hamper its readability – it’s a fairly quick story to get through.
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