We Came Here to Shine by Susie Orman Schnall



We Came Here to Shine is an interesting story of historical fiction. Set primarily at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, it is the story of two women - Vivi, a young aspiring actress, and Max the ambitious journalism student. The story exemplifies the inequality that women faced at this point in history and, to some extent, today.

The story begins with Vivi in Hollywood as a contract actress working for Worldwide Pictures. She learns she has not been selected for the role in which she has auditioned but rather has been chosen to star in the aquatic show at the World’s Fair in New York. Vivi is not happy, but is told that if she successfully performs in the show until the Fall’s conclusion of the fair, she will return to Hollywood and receive a starring role. Feeling she doesn’t have a choice, Vivi decides to make the best of it.

Max is a NYU student who is hopeful that she will be selected to intern at a major newspaper during the summer. Instead, she is told that she and another student, Charlie, will be spending the summer writing for the daily paper of the fair. Unfortunately, the leaders of this paper are clearly misogynist - Charlie is given the task of writing articles, while Max is relegated to the task of preparing the daily schedule of events.

When Vivi and Max’s lives cross paths and join forces their lives begin to change. Each of the women has supportive men in their lives which tempers the battles each woman faces. Will each woman find what they are looking for by the end of the fair?

The author has done an incredible amount of research into bringing historical facts into this piece of fiction. The characters are believable, and likeable. The story is engaging and reminds me of my time at Expo ’86. I applaud the author with including an important female activist into this book. I listened to the audiobook version of the book, performed by Carly Robins, Lauren Fortgang and Dan Bittner . The narrators all do a fantastic job of providing these characters with a voice. I particularly enjoyed Dan Bittner who does a fantastic job of announcing “Today at the Fair” in a voice typical of 1939.

I enjoyed this entertaining read and recommend it to fans of historical fiction.

My rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5.

10 comments:

  1. I love a historical novel and this sounds amazing! I also have a love for New York and am a complete sucker for any books set there so this sounds right up my street. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. I hope if you read it that you enjoy it as much as I did! Thanks for your comment!

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  2. I am a history nerd and love historical novels! I think it's always interesting to see the times then and now. So this book sounds amazing!

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    1. It truly is! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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  3. Sounds like a good choice for audiobook. I'll check it out. Thank you! :)

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    1. Yes I definitely recommend the audiobook edition! Thanks for your comment!

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  4. Sounds a really good read. I'm a big fan of a well researched novel.

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