Caroline Preston is the author of three previous novels, Jackie by Josie (a New York Times Notable Book), Lucy Crocker 2.0, and Gatsby’s Girl. She has collected antique scrapbooks since she was in high school, and has worked as an archivist at the Peabody/Essex Museum and Harvard University. She and her husband, the writer Christopher Tilghman, live in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt (PagePerfect NOOK Book)by Caroline Preston
For her graduation from high school in 1920, Frankie Pratt receives a scrapbook and her father’s old Corona typewriter. Despite Frankie’s dreams of becoming a writer, she must forgo a college scholarship to help her widowed mother. But when a mysterious Captain James sweeps her off her feet, her mother finds a way to protect Frankie from the… See more details below
For her graduation from high school in 1920, Frankie Pratt receives a scrapbook and her father’s old Corona typewriter. Despite Frankie’s dreams of becoming a writer, she must forgo a college scholarship to help her widowed mother. But when a mysterious Captain James sweeps her off her feet, her mother finds a way to protect Frankie from the less-than-noble intentions of her unsuitable beau.
Through a kaleidoscopic array of vintage postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus, and more, we meet and follow Frankie on her journey in search of success and love. Once at Vassar, Frankie crosses paths with intellectuals and writers, among them “Vincent” (alumna Edna St. Vincent Millay), who encourages Frankie to move to Greenwich Village and pursue her writing. When heartbreak finds her in New York, she sets off for Paris aboard the S.S. Mauritania, where she keeps company with two exiled Russian princes and a “spinster adventuress” who is paying her way across the Atlantic with her unused trousseau. In Paris, Frankie takes a garret apartment above Shakespeare & Company, the hub of expat life, only to have a certain ne’er-do-well captain from her past reappear. But when a family crisis compels Frankie to return to her small New England hometown, she finds exactly what she had been looking for all along.
Author of the New York Times Notable Book Jackie by Josie, Caroline Preston pulls from her extraordinary collection of vintage ephemera to create the first-ever scrapbook novel, transporting us back to the vibrant, burgeoning bohemian culture of the 1920s and introducing us to an unforgettable heroine, the spirited, ambitious, and lovely Frankie Pratt.
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I have never read a book like this one before, in the format of a scrapbook, telling a story through pictures, words, and full-color vintage memorabilia on every page. It was a treat for the eyes! Although I could have read this book in a few hours I really took my time and savoured it. Yes, this is a book to be savoured. The story takes place from 1920 to 1928 beginning when Frankie Pratt gets a scrapbook as a high school graduation present. She finds her father's old Corona typewriter in the cellar and thus decides to write her story since she dreams of becoming a writer. She heads off to college and her journey takes her to New York and Paris until she finally returns to her New England hometown and finds what she's been looking for all along. Frankie Pratt is an interesting character, adjusting to womanhood during a decade of many changes. Her trip to Europe is the most interesting to me as she experiences the expat life along with emerging American writers of that era, such as Hemingway. Frankie is courageous, forthright and adventurous but she is also vulnerable but level-headed. It's a great combination that turns her into a memorable character. She writes with a sense of humour and no wasted words. I loved her relationship with her mother, who knew when to step in and when to let go. The setting highlighted by the collection of pictures assembled in scrapbook format really transported me visually to the vibrant culture that proceeded the Depression. I took my time looking at the pictures and realized how bold society had become as women shed their long (and sometimes confining) skirts of the 19th century and embraced the more risqué fashion and lifestyles of the 20th century. No wonder it was called the Roaring Twenties. This is one of those books that can be read over and over and the discovery would be new every time as you probably would pick up on things you missed in the pictures. It's clear the author spent considerable time choosing the right vintage pictures of people, objects and events that stamped this novel with the footprint of the unforgettable 1920s, which come to think of it, is almost a century ago. This is truly a unique historical fiction book. Note: This book has some sexual references, nothing explicit. There are also two small medical textbook diagrams of the male organ (internal view and non-offensive) that was part of the marriage manual that college women received in Hygiene class. I thought this page was quite funny actually.
Loved the visual way this story is presented - so creative! Bits of history and a romance are portrayed through clippings, pictures, courier typewriter text inserts, and other treats. Make sure and view the book trailer below to get an idea of what is in between the covers. It is sure to delight!
What a unique way to write a novel, tell a story ~ as a scrapbook! I am a modern scrapbooker which is why I was drawn to this book. It was very entertaining, cleverly written, and the ephemera/memorabilia a joy to peruse through. Caroline Preston is a creative genius! I look forward to reading the rest of her works.