A powerful novel about a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas–and finds unexpected fortune, friendship, and love.
It was unimaginable. When she was eight years old, Lily Decker somehow survived the auto accident that killed her parents and sister, but neither her emotionally distant aunt nor her all-too-attentive uncle could ease her grief. Dancing proves to be Lily’s only solace, and eventually, she receives a “scholarship” to a local dance academy–courtesy of a mysterious benefactor.
Grown and ready to leave home for good, Lily changes her name to Ruby Wilde and heads to Las Vegas to be a troupe dancer, but her sensual beauty and voluptuous figure land her work instead as a showgirl performing everywhere from Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana to the Stardust’s Lido de Paris. Wearing costumes dripping with feathers and rhinestones, five-inch heels, and sky-high headdresses, Ruby may have all the looks of a Sin City success story, but she still must learn to navigate the world of men–and figure out what real love looks like.
With her uncanny knack for understanding the hidden lives of women, Elizabeth J. Church captures both the iconic extravagance of an era and the bravery of a young woman who dances through her sadness to find connection, freedom, and, most important, herself.
Lilly’s family is killed in a car crash when she is just a small child. She is then raised by her aunt and uncle. It is a loveless home plus, she is abused by her uncle. However, through an anonymous benefactor, Lilly is allowed to take dance lessons. This becomes her lifeline and her saving grace. She uses her talent to escape her childhood and create and amazing life as Vegas showgirl.
When I started this book I almost put it down within the first chapter. I had just finished Before We Were Yours. I did not think I could handle any more child abuse. I am glad I didn’t stop…this is an amazing and fascinating read not to be missed.
I don’t think I have ever loved a more flawed character as I have Lilly or Ruby….she changes her name when she runs away to Las Vegas. She has resilience and astounding toughness. She makes some tragic mistakes but still manages to get her act together and come out on top!
I enjoyed learning the behind the scenes actions of a showgirl. There is a lot more to it besides the dancing and the costumes. The high-rollers, the partying, the philandering all make up a life I did not know existed. And all the money! Geez!
Lilly conquers some tragedies which most people could never overcome. She does this with a style and a strength which are above and beyond!
I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.