Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy

Shoulder Season
by Christina Clancy
Published July 6th 2021 by St. Martin's Press

A dazzling portrait of a young woman coming into her own, the youthful allure of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and what we lose—and gain—when we leave home.

The small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is an unlikely location for a Playboy Resort, and nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor is an unlikely bunny. Growing up in neighboring East Troy, Sherri plays the organ at the local church and has never felt comfortable in her own skin. But when her parents die in quick succession, she leaves the only home she’s ever known for the chance to be part of a glamorous slice of history. In the winter of 1981, in a costume two sizes too small, her toes pinched by stilettos, Sherri joins the daughters of dairy farmers and factory workers for the defining experience of her life.

Living in the “bunny hutch”—Playboy’s version of a college dorm—Sherri gets her education in the joys of sisterhood, the thrill of financial independence, the magic of first love, and the heady effects of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But as spring gives way to summer, Sherri finds herself caught in a romantic triangle—and the tragedy that ensues will haunt her for the next forty years.

From the Midwestern prairie to the California desert, from Wisconsin lakes to the Pacific Ocean, this is a story of what happens when small town life is sprinkled with stardust, and what we lose—and gain—when we leave home. With a heroine to root for and a narrative to get lost in, Christina Clancy's Shoulder Season is a sexy, evocative tale, drenched in longing and desire, that captures a fleeting moment in American history with nostalgia and heart.

4 Stars

I'll admit something most people never would, when I was young I dreamed of being a bunny. Not like the bunnies of the 2000s we all saw on TV, but the old classic bunnies. I'd been a bit too young, but had heard all about the resorts and had seen the photos. It was glamorous, old fashioned, something I loved as a kid and a teen. I never did go that route, but I so loved taking an adventure into the past and into that world in Shoulder Season. Christina Clancy brings the desires of youth and glamour to life with this historical-fiction based in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

2019 Sherrie has received a call to return home, a place she ran from in the 80's. She's built a steady life in Palm Springs, CA and she's a far cry from the Bunny she was at the resort. Sherrie never felt like she fit in, but when she leaves East Troy behind for the resort in 1981 she finds a place she belongs. With an entirely realistic plot and setting, Clancy takes readers on a coming-of-age journey filled with sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Sherrie never turns a good time down and it's in those fast-paced moments that she finds herself, loses herself, and finds herself once again. She learns about love, loss, and life, taking lessons from the school of hard knocks.

Shoulder Season is a slower-paced women's fiction that I absolutely loved reading. When I caught myself skimming, I set it down, it's a book best not read in one go in my opinion, but I enjoyed every page when I returned to it. I was a big fan of how the story was told, with Clancy beginning in the future and taking us into the past, giving readers a glimpse into what Sherrie saw and felt in her youth and how her perspective was shaped by it and how it changed with time. In Shoulder Season, insecurity wreaks havoc on young Sherrie, but shapes her into an independent, smart woman.

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