Published: May 12th 2022 Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Mystery, Historical Mystery, Romance Novel, Lesbian Literature, LGBT Literature Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my review for this outstanding debut. Thank you to Jen at Michael Joseph for the gifted ARC.
1955: In an apartment on the Lower East Side, school teachers Dovie and Gillian live as lodgers. Dancing behind closed curtains, mixing cocktails for two, they guard their private lives fiercely. Until someone guesses the truth . . .
1975: Twenty years later in the same apartment, Ava Winters is keeping her own secret. Her mother has become erratic, haunted by something Ava doesn’t understand – until one sweltering July morning, she disappears.
Soon after her mother’s departure, Ava receives a parcel. Addressed simply to ‘Apartment 3B’, it contains a photo of a woman with the word ‘LIAR’ scrawled across it. Ava does not know what it means or who sent it. But if she can find out then perhaps she’ll discover the answers she is seeking – and meet the woman at the heart of it all . . .
That Green-Eyed Girl was not only the Squadpod Book Club pick for May, but one of my most anticipated debuts of 2022. A dual timeslip novel, it moves between 1955 and 1975 to tell an unforgettable story that deals with difficult topics such as homophobia, racism, mental illness and neglect alongside everyday issues such as teenage crushes.
Atmospheric, immersive and utterly compelling, I am in awe that this is a debut. Julie Owen Moylan is a skilled storyteller whose vivid prose brings the story and characters to life, transporting me to the streets of New York so clearly it was as if I could feel the oppressive summer heat on my skin, hear the noise from the traffic and smell the smoke in the jazz bars. She moves seamlessly between timelines as she slowly converges the two storylines, beginning the connection with the mysterious package and thenintricately weaving them together until the full picture emerges.
The book is filled with richly drawn, fascinating characters, including our two narrators: Dovie in 1955 and Ava in 1975. The author creates a strong connection between them and the reader, allowing us to explore their innermost thoughts, feelings and fears. I had a particularly strong maternal connection to Ava and longed to jump into the book and be the parent she desperately needed and wanted. Despite their many differences, Ava and Dovie are actually very similar. Both are imprisoned in their own ways; caught in a web of shameful secrets and lies that hold them captive and paralysed by the fear of discovery. An oppressive and claustrophobic air of anguish, humiliation and dread permeates each page, and there is a bite of loneliness and regret that runs through the story as societal values and expectations force Dovie and Ava to live these half-lives in order to conform. It is heartbreaking, powerful and perfectly written.
Hauntingly beautiful, poignant and bittersweet, this book was both nothing like I expected and everything I wanted. It is a truly astonishing debut from an author I predict big things from in the future. This is one not to be missed.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Julie Owen Moylan is a writer whose short stories and articles have appeared in New Welsh Review, Horizon Literary Review, and The Voice of Women in Wales Anthology
She has also written and directed several short films as part of her MA in Film. Her graduation short film called ‘BabyCakes’ scooped Best Film awards at the Swansea Film Festival, Ffresh, and the Celtic Media Awards. She also has an MA in Creative Writing, and is an alumna of the Faber Academy’s Writing a Novel course.
Her debut novel THAT GREEN-EYED GIRL will be published by Penguin Michael Joseph on May 12th 2022.
As many of you know, I’m part of a wonderful group of bloggers known as the Squadpod. Over the last eighteen months these women have become not only my friends but a much-needed support network and my chosen family. It started with books and became much more. This year we have expanded our group to go beyond our WhatsApp Chats and you can now follow us on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. We have started our Squadpod Book Club, organised blog tours and even cake blasts (the one for Evie Epworth was one of my favourite moments of 2021).
Last year, I shared a list of each of the Squadpod’s 20 Favourite books of 2020 so I’m doing it again. Though this year it is obviously our 21 favourite books of 2021. So, buckle up because there a quite a few of us. But please keep reading to the end so that you can find out what book the Squadpod recommends overall in 2021…
Becca at Becca Kate Blogs
For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley
The Push by Ashley Audrain
Keeper by Jessica Moor
Shiver by Allie Reynolds
The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor
The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper
Everything Is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
Space Hopper by Helen Fisher
Dog Days by Ericka Walker
Lost Property by Helen Paris
The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent
The Island Home by Libby Page
Another Life by Jodie Chapman
The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain
The Pact by Sharon Bolton
The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves
Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian
BOOK OF THE YEAR: The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
One of my favourite parts of putting together the Squadpod’s lists of favourite books is seeing how diverse they are. And this year that was even more evident. We had a lot of books that appeared on two or three of our lists, but only seven that appeared on four or more lists. One was even on many of our lists last year and very nearly took the title of overall favourite. So, here’s our ultimate Squadpod Recommendations for 2021:
Some debut novels that just narrowly missed this list but were clearly loved by many in the Squadpod were Shiver, The Last Library, The Last House on Needless Street, The Summer Job, The Appeal, When They Find Her, The Lip, Assembly and All My Lies.
Squadpod Book of the Year
We had a tie for Book of the Year, with The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot and The Wolf Den both appearing on six of the Squad’s lists.
What do you think of our choices? Do you see books you’ve loved this year on our lists? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to follow us.
Thanks for reading Bibliophiles! Wishing you all a Happy New Year ☺️Emma xxx