Based on the real life of Anita Hemmings, The Gilded Years is a fictionalized account of the first African-American woman to graduate from the prestigious Vassar College in 1897 (Vassar did not openly admit African-American students until the 1940s). Anita was able to do this because she was light skinned enough to pass as white and she kept this secret for three years. But during her senior year she fell in love with a Harvard student and her roommate became attracted to Anita’s equally fair skinned brother, both situations which would jeopardize everything she had accomplished so far.
She had the typical student experience, studying, socializing, and visiting friends but with the constant undercurrent that she was playing a part and keeping a secret that if discovered could get her expelled. She had to decide who she was, who she wanted to be and what was most important to her, which had no easy answers.
There is also a section that tells about the life of the real Anita Hemmings (with photo), her life before and at Vassar and what happened to her after leaving college.
I’ve read some articles from 2017 and 2018 reporting that this book will be made into a film called ‘A White Lie’ starring Zendaya and Reese Witherspoon but have not found more recent information about it.
As a fan of both school stories (whether day schools, boarding schools or college/ university) and historical fiction this book is a great mix of both!
In Meg Wolitzer’s latest novel, The Female Persuasion, Greer Kadetsky has a life-changing encounter when she meets renowned feminist and author Faith Frank at a college lecture. Greer has always been ambitious, excelling at school, yet shy and afraid to speak her mind. In Faith, she finds a mentor who gives her the confidence to use her voice. When Greer lands her dream job working at Faith’s women’s foundation, Loci, she is excited to help women share their stories and shine a light on issues such as pay inequality and workplace harassment. But Greer’s idealistic view of Loci is put to the test when she discovers the venture capital firm funding the foundation has been involved in some shady practices. Continue reading
Have you ever wondered what the four March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott would be like if they were transported to another time and place. The Spring Girls by Anna Todd is one author’s answer to that. The four Spring sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy live on an army base in the United States in the twenty-first century. Like the first part of Little Women, this book chronicles a year in the life of the sisters, relating their changes in growing up, their relationships with each other and their parents, as well as friends and crushes. The characters are true to the original characters, Jo aspires to be an author, Meg wants popularity and to get married, Beth is a homebody and Amy is a self centered bratty little girl. I must admit that some swearing and few sexual situations felt a little out of character to me but they would be appropriate with the sisters lives in this modern time and place. Even so I enjoyed the book and so I’m recommended it here. If you read it do let me know what you think.