Travel to the Jazz Age with Kim van Alkemade in her story, based on the life and times of Jacob Ruppert, owner of the New York Yankees and his life, and secrets surrounding a bequest. Please read on for my review and an excerpt from
In New York, everyone KNEW Jacob Ruppert: a successful businessman, owner of the Yankees and a touch eccentric is almost everything that the city celebrates. A brewer, a congressman, a colonel in the National Guard and a prodigious owner of the Yankees: acquiring Babe Ruth and building Yankee Stadium, there appeared to be no one who didn’t know him or those close to him. But when his will was read, there was a bequest to a Helen Winthrope that included half ownership in the Yankees – there was a mystery to unfurl. And unfurl it we do as the author takes us through the story, told in two points of view from people who knew and befriended Jacob: Helen and Albert, Jacob’s personal secretary.
Slowly building to the climax, the story builds both characters and atmosphere gradually, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the lives, friendships, struggles and challenges of the place and day, while allowing for little nuggets of deeper secrets to be revealed. The question for all but Albert, Helen and Jacob himself is why Helen, relatively unknown and unremarkable young woman, living and supporting herself in the city, would receive such a generous bequest. And there are secrets that Helen holds that were unknown to many, including her own family, for years. From bigger societal issues like racism, poverty, women’s rights, family planning and even the justice system, to personal choices about abortion, sexual freedom or even homosexuality, each element is handled with a feeling of possibility and plausibility: showing the characters dealing with the many inequities and difficulties that life in that time could bring. Of course, there are the reasons and rumors surrounding Helen’s windfall, and secrets of affairs that ignore the bone-deep loyalties that are found with these very different people, loyalties that appear to have started in chance encounters but quickly became choices of intimates who shared secrets, desires and even sorrows near equally.
None of the secrets are truly revealed or confirmed until the book is nearly at an end, allowing readers to piece together the who and the why, but the revelations as the story comes to unearth the secrets are fully realized in the carefully plotted and structured story. While issues aren’t always directly confronted, the sense of navigating what must have felt like a minefield for the three are clearly presented and dealt with, in ways that bring a sense of completion and progress to the reader. A lovely story that transports readers to the 20’s while giving them a sense of the characters, now long gone, who once were living and breathing and as real as you or I.
Title: Bachelor Girl
Author: Kim van Alkemade
Genre: Biographic / autobiographic, Historical Fiction, Jazz Age, Romantic Elements, Setting: American, Woman's Fiction
Published by: Touchstone
Published on: 6 March, 2018
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 12 Hours: 16 minutes
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 comes a fresh and intimate novel in the vein of Lilac Girls and The Alice Network about the destructive power of secrets and the redemptive power of love—inspired by the true story of Jacob Ruppert, the millionaire owner of the New York Yankees, and his mysterious bequest in 1939 to an unknown actress, Helen Winthrope Weyant.
When the owner of the New York Yankees baseball team, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, takes Helen Winthrope, a young actress, under his wing, she thinks it’s because of his guilt over her father’s accidental death—and so does Albert Kramer, Ruppert’s handsome personal secretary. Helen and Albert develop a deepening bond the closer they become to Ruppert, an eccentric millionaire who demands their loyalty in return for his lavish generosity.
New York in the Jazz Age is filled with possibilities, especially for the young and single. Yet even as Helen embraces being a “bachelor girl”—a working woman living on her own terms—she finds herself falling in love with Albert, even after he confesses his darkest secret. When Ruppert dies, rumors swirl about his connection to Helen after the stunning revelation that he has left her the bulk of his fortune, which includes Yankee Stadium. But it is only when Ruppert’s own secrets are finally revealed that Helen and Albert will be forced to confront the truth about their relationship to him—and to each other.
Inspired by factual events that gripped New York City in its heyday, Bachelor Girl is a hidden history gem about family, identity, and love in all its shapes and colors.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: