Plot Summary: Ellis Eaton is bombing out in her classes at college. She just can’t seem to apply herself! What’s more, she feels like she keeps failing everybody she knows and loves– including Griffin Phillips, the boy-next-door. The only solution seems to escape and go to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming a movie star. The only problem is to save up enough to get there. When a lookalike friend suggests Ellis fills in for her as a ‘hello girl’ telephone operator, Ellis agrees. But then she accidentally overhears a mysterious conversation implying danger toward Griffin. What will this mean for him and for her future plans?
My Book Review: I’ve been interested in trying some of Siri Mitchell’s novels and this is the first one I’ve tried. I had a lot of fun reading it! The main character, Ellis, is a lively heroine who keeps getting into scrapes and she reminded me a lot of Anne Shirley. It didn’t take me long to wonder if Ellis might have had some sort of attention deficit disorder. Her rambling first person narrative (which I loved) would stop and change on a dime from one topic to another. Unfortunately for her she is often misunderstood because of this, especially by her mother. At the end of the book, the author explains that she did purposefully create Ellis with ADHD, but that society would not have recognized or correctly diagnosed it back during the Prohibition era. I thought this was an interesting angle to the story.
One of Siri Mitchell’s signatures is filling her novels with interesting history so that you’re not only entertained, but educated. This particular book centered on the Prohibition era of the 1920’s (a decade that’s really popular right now thanks to Downton Abbey!). We get to see the introduction of crossword puzzles, and references to fashion trends, popular songs, films, movie stars, and other pop culture of the times. I loved the descriptions!
I didn’t find the book to be a painful, fluffy novel and enjoyed it. However, there came a time where I felt the plot felt stuck in a rut like it was not going anywhere. The biggest hitch was repetition. Ellis was continually reminding us of her goal in trying to protect Griffin, but it became tedious. Griffin tries to pursue her romantically but can never seem to find a time and place alone with her. This doesn’t happen once, twice, or three times but many many times during the course of the story. Instead of creating suspense, this technique caused me to feel the story had nothing more to offer than filler scenes. I really dislike repetition!
It also became a little confusing as to what Ellis was thinking, –but then I think she was confused herself! First she says that she disappoints others when she is herself, so she finds it best to pretend to be a different character. Then she says she can’t be what everyone else wants her to be because it’s not who she is. ?
This was a fun story that didn’t center so much on romance as it was a coming-of-age story with a heroine who is in a journey of self-discovery. You don’t have to worry about it getting steamy. I could easily let my teenage daughters read it (if I had any teenage daughters). I want to try at least one more book by Siri Mitchell. Don’t get me wrong, –I liked this book but I have a hunch I’ll like some other of her books better once I get to them.
This book is #7 in the “Against All Expectations” Series, but I think these books are all stand alone.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Share your thoughts below!