Bachelor Girl by Kim Van Alkemade
Published by: Touchstone on March 6th, 2018
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction. LGBTQ
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Provided by Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
Review: I was excited when I received this book in the mail as I am obsessed with historical fiction novels. As soon as I picked it up I didn’t want to put it down. It is a hefty 400+ book that felt at times a bit dense so it took a little longer to get through but for this type of story I enjoyed the “forced” pace. There are 3 “main” story lines/characters that are all interwoven with one another. One can’t let their true self fully be known, the other makes one bad decision and suffers the consequences, and the other is a plot twist!
Many themes and issues were evident throughout the novel, such as, homosexuality, interracial relationships, and gender inequality. It was interesting to see these portrayed in the actions and reactions of the characters and I felt that it was really well done. I felt the emotions of the characters going through these situations throughout their lives and I found myself rooting for a happy ending for all of them (well maybe not one of them).
Since I was unfamiliar with the name of Colonel Rupport I was quite unaware that this was based off of a true situation. Van Alkemade really made a great story out of this real life mystery between the two people. Very well researched!
This is currently my favourite and first 5 star read of 2018. I can’t wait to pick up more books by this author. Perhaps I shall try Orphan #8.
**A review copy was kindly provided to me by Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review**