Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Review: Long Gone Girl by Amy Rose Bennett

3.5 stars

Long Gone Girl was a cute, little 1950s-set novella. Ginny Williams is recently returned from the Korean War, where she served as a nurse and had a short marriage to a medic before he died in action. Keen to escape stifling life in small town New Jersey, she heads to the shore for a weekend, only to meet her high school classmate and one-time crush Jett Kelly on the beach. Jett humiliated Ginny once, and Ginny won't let him do it again, but she's also very attracted to him. And, as Jett is a pilot who also served in Korea, they have a lot more in common now than they ever did in high school.  

Long Gone Girl is a light, quick and easy read, with a 1950s setting that made it stand out. Bennett does very well at giving the reader a sense of place and time, and the setting also shapes the characters and their interactions. Obviously, there's their mutual experience with the Korean War, but Ginny is also rebelling against her mother's conceptions of correct behaviour, and attempting to strike out on her own as a new type of woman. She was frank, both sexually and with reference to her career. 

This meant that it focused a lot on the physical attraction side of things, and not very much on what Ginny liked or thought she could like about Jett as a person. There was HFN and not a HEA, which I thought was fitting, but that's because I didn't see what would have held Ginny to a relationship with Jett, apart from sexual attraction, even though she says at the end that she was falling for him. 

There was so much that was yet to be explored, and in an ideal world I'd have liked an epilogue or something where this was touched on, however briefly. I also felt like the conflict could have been slightly more prominent or protracted or something, because both the two main obstacles in the romantic arc - Ginny's lack of desire for a relationship and her lack of faith in Jett - are dispensed with fairly quickly and with minimal angst. I would have also liked more information about the characters' experiences in Korea, or for this to have more of a visible impact, but this is probably very much a matter of personal preference. 

Overall, taking into account the fact that Bennett is working within the novella format, Long Gone Girl did its thing quite well. 

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