Title: White Collar Girl by Renee Rosen
Genre: Historical (50s), Fiction
Length: 435 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Penguin’s First to Read Program
The latest novel from the bestselling author of Dollface and What the Lady Wants takes us deep into the tumultuous world of 1950s Chicago where a female journalist struggles with the heavy price of ambition…
Every second of every day, something is happening. There’s a story out there buried in the muck, and Jordan Walsh, coming from a family of esteemed reporters, wants to be the one to dig it up. But it’s 1955, and the men who dominate the city room of the Chicago Tribune have no interest in making room for a female cub reporter. Instead Jordan is relegated to society news, reporting on Marilyn Monroe sightings at the Pump Room and interviewing secretaries for the White Collar Girl column.
Even with her journalistic legacy and connections to luminaries like Mike Royko, Nelson Algren, and Ernest Hemingway, Jordan struggles to be taken seriously. Of course, that all changes the moment she establishes a secret source inside Mayor Daley’s office and gets her hands on some confidential information. Now careers and lives are hanging on Jordan’s every word. But if she succeeds in landing her stories on the front page, there’s no guarantee she’ll remain above the fold.…
Set in the 1950’s, White Collar Girl by Renee Rosen is a riveting novel about a female journalist’s attempt to break into the historically male dominated field. Fighting to be taken seriously during a time when female reporters were relegated to writing “fluff” pieces, Jordan Walsh never loses sight of her goal although she sometimes questions her motivation for trying so hard to make a success of her chosen career.
Jordan comes from a long line of reporters and after her brother Eliot’s death two years earlier, she is determined to make him and their parents proud. Excited by the job offer at the Chicago Tribune, she is brought back to earth in a hurry when she discovers she will be writing society pieces and articles about women’s issues. With one eye on achieving her goal of writing hard hitting news stories, Jordan never hesitates to take risks and investigate the leads that come her way but convincing her editor to take her seriously takes grit, patience and perseverance.
Jordan is definitely a woman ahead of her time and her drive to succeed eclipses nearly everything in her life. She is frustrated by her colleague’s attitudes toward her and the other women she works with but she never lets them deter her from her goals. She is smart, savvy and inquisitive and although she sometimes rushes into situations without thinking things through, her instinct about newsworthy material is sound. Although her career is her top priority, Jordan does have a serious relationship with a fellow news reporter but her success threatens to derail their romance.
Unlike some of her friends and co-workers, marriage and family is oftentimes the last thing on Jordan’s mind. Although she becomes engaged, planning her upcoming wedding is low on her list of priorities. She is also ill-prepared for her very traditional fiancé’s and his family’s expectations about her role after the wedding. Jordan often minimizes her success at the Tribune in order to protect her fiancé’s ego and his frustration about her higher profile assignments and news scoops leads to discontent for both of them.
White Collar Girl is a mesmerizing novel that is quite fascinating and based on many historically accurate scandals and newsworthy events of the late 50s and early 60s. The characters are multi-faceted and brilliantly developed with realistic flaws and imperfections. Renee Rosen’s meticulous attention to detail, the captivating plot and an interesting main protagonist bring the story and the time period vibrantly to live. An informative and enthralling novel that I absolutely loved and highly recommend.