Tellulah Darling writes YA & New Adult romantic comedy because her first kiss sucked and she's compensating.
Sassy girls. Swoony boys. What could go wrong?
Honestly? My first reaction to realizing the story was set in the 1930s and 40s was to groan because I really really did not feel like reading a period novel right now. Yeah, well, Egan can write any time period and from now on, I’ll follow her without complaint.
I pretty much did nothing for two days except read this book from cover to cover. All three of the main players in this book were fascinating to follow. Especially Anna, forging a path as the first female diver, against societal disapproval, and the many obstacles put in her path. Her certainty about the direction she wanted to take in her life, especially in that time period, was so refreshing.
Unlike many of the books I read, there wasn’t an ounce of snark or, really, romance, in this story. What grounded it for me was a compelling specificity of time and place, as well as the wonderfully fleshed out characters. This isn’t some Shakespearean epic. I found the story to be much more narrowed-focused: a smaller scope, but no less impactful with it’s themes of gender politics, and flawed men versus the heroes they aspired to be. Plus, setting it largely in the naval yards, gave me a glimpse into a New York that I’d never come across in my reading history.
If you’re going to read Manhattan Beach, surrender yourself to it, like you would to the sea. Ride the swells and dips; and enjoy the journey.