The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is a retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses set in the 1920s. It is light on magic, or rather has absolutely none, but heavy on feminism and awesomeness. Despite being a fairy tale retelling, I can’t really label this a fantasy novel, so I’m not. I really, really liked it and I loved setting this story of women finding liberation and defying the ‘king’ against the backdrop of the proto-women’s liberation that happened during the 20s. It’s a glorious mashup.
Twelve sisters go dancing every night to various clubs in New York City. The oldest, Jo, who is a surrogate mother to her sisters, keeps tab on all the sisters as they sneak out to do the one thing in life which brings them joy- dance. Their father is puzzled and not quite sure how his daughters are sneaking out under his nose to dance, but dance they do. He decides that it’s time to marry his daughters off, and so the struggle to keep the sisters together and free begins. It’s a story of liberation and loyalty and sisters and finding out how to balance personal needs against the needs of your family.
I just really liked the book. It’s an amazing fairytale adaptation, which means I’m primed to like it to begin with, and then there’s the feminist angle and it’s like it was written just for me. I love how each the different dance style of the sisters informs the reader of their personalities. Dance is used both as a characterization of the sisters and a symbol of their freedom.
I enjoyed this one very much, and I highly recommend it.