The Playful flapper here we see,
The fairest of the fair.
She's not what grandma used to be-
You might say, au contraire.
Her girlish ways may make a stir,
Her manners cause a scene,
But there is no more harm in her
Than in a submarine. -Dorothy Parker
My review for the first Flappers book can be found here. I'm going to be talking about some of those events, so be warned.
Vixen told the story of three teenage girls in 1920s Chicago. In the second installment, all the action moves from Chicago to New York. The first book was full of drama, romance, and vintage fashion. Thankfully, Ingenue definitely lives up to its predecessor.
Gloria had been the perfect young lady, engaged to the perfect, rich, powerful man. Then she became a singer at a speakeasy. Then she fell in love with the black piano player, Jerome. Then she shot the man sent to kill Jerome. The couple fled to New York for protection, but they have trouble landing a job. It starts to put stress on their relationship. It seemed so easy to just love each other, but then their races add complications, her getting a job before him adds complications. I didn't enjoy their bad luck, but it seemed realistic.
Clara was exiled to Chicago for past misdeeds. She worked to appear as a proper young lady, but it was revealed that Clara had once lived as a flapper in New York. Through nights of wild partying, she started a relationship with an engaged man and became pregnant. Despite having her past exposed, Clara manages to win Marcus' heart. In New York, Clara gets offered a journalism job. She must reenter her old flapper life in order to write scathing exposes on the parties. Clara doesn't think that she will slip back into her old ways, but Marcus has issues with her job anyways. I loved those two together, so this was particularly upsetting. On the one hand, Marcus made some good points, but on the other, he was unreasonable and he made ultimatums, and it seemed out of character from the Marcus we saw in Vixen.
Lorraine was the jealous bitch. She was jealous of Gloria, she was jealous of Clara. Lorraine was the one who revealed Clara's past, at Gloria's engagement party no less! At the end of Vixen, the mob boss' son offered Lorraine a job in New York. All she has to do is lure Gloria and Jerome into her speakeasy, and the mob will teach them a lesson. She never expects to fall in love with the new bartender, or that he might love her back. It's difficult to like Lorraine, but I do sympathize with her sometimes. She is always so worried about besting everyone and getting everyone to see how beautiful and accomplished she is. Her clothes do sound really cute, at least. She needs some sort of perspective, some healthier self esteem so she doesn't see the world as a giant competition.
Vera, Jerome's sister, only had one chapter in the last book, where it was revealed that she betrayed Jerome and Gloria (Everyone thought Lorraine did it). Now, she travels to New York to warn her brother. In Chicago, Vera witnessed a woman shooting Gloria's fiancee. The assassin will be targeting Jerome and Gloria next. Other than trying to find her brother, Vera starts to fall in love with Evan, Jerome's bandmate. Honestly, we don't get much of Vera. She mostly lurked in the background in the first book, though she was entertainingly mean to Gloria. Here, we see more of the bold, feisty Vera.
In the end, our little flappers don't have the best of times in New York. They learn that even true love can require sacrifices, and sometimes the sacrifices are too great. They attend parties and sing at speakeasies and crash lunch dates with gangsters. There is a hitwoman, I cannot emphasize that enough. It's as fun as Gossip Girl, only with (slightly) more literary cred due to its historical setting. This is definitely a series worth reading, and I will be watching out for Diva, the next installment.