White Collar Girl
by Renee Rosen
Page Count: 448
Release Date: November 3, 2015
How got: ARC won through GoodReads giveaway
First attention getter: already liked the author
The latest novel from the bestselling author of Dollface and What the Lady Wants takes us deep into the tumultuous world of 1950s Chicago where a female journalist struggles with the heavy price of ambition...
Every second of every day, something is happening. There’s a story out there buried in the muck, and Jordan Walsh, coming from a family of esteemed reporters, wants to be the one to dig it up. But it’s 1955, and the men who dominate the city room of the Chicago Tribune have no interest in making room for a female cub reporter. Instead Jordan is relegated to society news, reporting on Marilyn Monroe sightings at the Pump Room and interviewing secretaries for the White Collar Girl column.
Even with her journalistic legacy and connections to luminaries like Mike Royko, Nelson Algren, and Ernest Hemingway, Jordan struggles to be taken seriously. Of course, that all changes the moment she establishes a secret source inside Mayor Daley’s office and gets her hands on some confidential information. Now careers and lives are hanging on Jordan’s every word. But if she succeeds in landing her stories on the front page, there’s no guarantee she’ll remain above the fold.…
Star Rating - 4.5
This book started out slow and irritating; I think a large part of that was due to how I viewed the main character in the beginning. However, things quickly picked up pace as I got to know Jordan and got sucked into her story. The book finished on a fantastic note.
Like I mentioned, at first, I had a hard time liking or sympathizing with Jordan. Her thirst for advancement and achievement came off as too eager and immature; she seemed to view the world through rose-colored glasses which seemed a bit unrealistic.
Yet, once I got drawn more and more into her story, I started to see the gutsy side of her, the courageous woman in her core that went to many lengths to get her story, regardless of the cost to her personally. Some of her calls might be in the gray area ethically when it comes to her personal relationships or the law. But one has to admire her tenacity in getting her facts right and her bravery in facing some truly scary opponents as she got her stories. At the end, I really ended up liking her.
The overall story just sucked me in. I’ve read other reviews that compare this story with Mad Men, and I have to agree with the comparison. Jordan’s struggle for respect in her field rings very similar to Peggy’s advancement struggle. There’s sexism in the workplace and the disrespect for a junior reporter on top of that. Watching Jordan as she slowly gains the respect of her colleagues, enough that they go to bat for her at the end during a personal struggle, was a treat to explore. She also has some very personal losses to go through, family deaths and some very black grief processes. Seeing her struggle with both aspects made for some great reading.
As I’ve experienced in this author’s previous work, her skills at setting and world-building stand right up there with the best. She makes the reader smell the ink and feel the rumbling of the floor as the presses start their work. The frenetic energy of the news room and the tense world of journalism really come to life here. The author also draws on real historical events to give Jordan events to report on and grow with. Corrupt Chicago politics, disasters, and scandals abound.
With a rocky start, this book quickly became tons better and drew me. I grew to love Jordan as a person and to watch her strive for respect and journalistic greatness. The author’s skill with background building didn’t hurt either. I’d definitely recommend this one to historical fiction lovers, especially those who love strong female leads and to explore areas not often written about in HF.
Note: Book received for free from publisher via GoodReads First Reads program in exchange for an honest review.