Perfect Red by Jennie Nash was a great read for me! I have read one other of Jennie’s books ( The Only True Genius in the Family ) and I really enjoyed it. Perfect Red was a little different from the other novels that she’s written in that it has some history weaved throughout and I loved that.
The novel is set in 1952 in New York City at the time of the Red Scare which had to do with communism. More importantly though this story takes a young and naive girl whose only dream is to become an author in a time when women didn’t aspire to much beyond being housewives and shows us how determination and passion can lead us to our dreams coming true.
Lucy is different from the other young women of her time who are happy enough to work in the typing pool or get married. She herself wants to be an author so when she lands a job working for one of the top publishing houses she takes the opportunity to learn as much as she can. Meanwhile she keeps trying to get started on her novel. She has an idea; she wants to write about Perfect Red – the lipstick that all the women are crazy about and that is said to be exactly what you need to lure in a man. Lucy knows there must be a backstory there and she needs to find out what it is but none of that will matter if she can’t get the words down onto paper.
Enter TJ Wright who is a best selling author. Lucy decides that in order to save her job and his she will give him her idea and let him write the novel. Let’s not forget that TJ is awfully handsome and gives her butterflies. However Lucy can never imagine the terrible turn of fate that will befall her all because she trusts the wrong people in a time when women had no rights and they certainly weren’t deemed intelligent enough to ever be able to write a novel. Her one bright star is Jeffrey but between the Red Scare and her own mistakes it may just be too late for them too.
This novel has so much more to it than I can possibly relate in a review but I can say that it is very much worth reading. I loved all the references to books, the publishing world, and to the people who love books. I loved Lucy as a character even as she trusted the wrong people and made some dire mistakes. She came from a time when things weren’t so easy for women who wanted more than marriage and was the kind of person who believed in the good of people so she got stomped on more than once in the cruelty and competition of the real world. As well I didn’t know much about the Red Scare and how it affected people so I found that fascinating as well so I appreciated the history of that piece of the story.
The novel is well written as I find Jennie’s novels to be and her descriptions of the time and place make you feel as though you are right there. Her portrayal of Lucy especially is fantastic because you can feel Lucy’s love for writing and books and you can feel her passion for wanting to be an author jump right off the page. I thoroughly enjoyed Perfect Red by Jennie Nash and its reminded me of how much I really need to read her backlist of which all are on my shelves!
You can pick up your own copy of Perfect Red at Amazon, Amazon Canada, B&N, and Kindle. Be sure to check out Jennie’s website to learn more about her work and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter as well.