Alice "Al" Huffman comes from the potato fields of Long Island with her beau, her best girlfriend and her girlfriend's beau to make it on the Broadway stage only to find she has no talent. On the kids' first day in New York City, they meet Maxwell P. Hartwell III, a failed nightclub owner and Broadway producer, who, according to Al, looks a little like Clark Gable. He invites them to a nightclub where Al hears Juliana, the glamorous, perpetually-on-the-brink-of stardom nightclub singer, sing for the first time. Al is instantly drawn to her and seeks her out. Juliana, a sexual risk-taker, easily reels in the mesmerized Al.
Al is increasingly pulled into a secret gay underworld of men who wear dresses and women who smoke cigars, while her childhood friends continue in their "normal" lives. Al glides easily between the two worlds until these worlds begin to collide.
About the Author
is the first in a series of novels about the same LGBT and straight characters living
through forthcoming decades of New York City LGBT history.
As a playwright Vanda has received numerous honors, among them an Edward Albee Fellowship. Her play, Vile Affections, published by Original Works was a finalist for a National Lambda Award. Her play, Patient HM, which later became The Forgetting Curve, won the Pride Stage and Screen’s Women’s Playwriting Award and another play, Why’d Ya Make Me Wear This, Joe, won Celebration Theater’s (where Naked Boys Singing originated) Best New LGBT Play.
Vanda has had or will have stories published in Prairie Schooner, Pentimento, Sinister Wisdom, The Outrider Review and The Grub Street On-Line Journal, her non-fiction story, “Roger: Lost Between Philosophies,” was selected by New Millennium Writings for Honorable Mention from a submission pool of 1,300.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Review It's a coming of age story as four friend's finish High School, then leave a potato farming community on Long Island and head to New York City. Three dream of being Broadway Stars, the other wants to be writer and dreams of being the next Ernest Hemingway. While it's titled Juliana, really it's about Al, Aggie, Dickie and Danny coming of age in NYC, fulfilling their dreams, four likable characters and great support cast and Al just takes over the story. Felt like Vanda without realizing it, or maybe she knows it, wants the reader to become Alice or Al, as her friends call her. I liked Vanda's writing style, she writes an engaging story, she puts the reader right in the pages, has unforgettable characters, your at the Stage Door Canteen with your few soldiers enjoying singing entertainment, making sacrifices for the war cause and reads like a play or a movie even. Even if your not into the reading LBGT books, but like reading post World War 2 books, the author keeps it relatively clean, scenes change before they get to graphic and think you like this one. With Juliana, Vanda gives the reader a look at what life was like in the States during WW2, the sacrifices everyone made, dimming lights, finding alternative items for things they can't get due to the war and like that it's fiction verse non-fiction. I also like how Vanda took actually history regarding the celebrities from that time period, added real places, and expertly blended it with her fictional characters. Will be adding more to this one.