If you’re into the Jazz Age, let me recommend two outstanding books by Caroline Preston: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt (2011) and Gatsby’s Girl (2006). The covers of both of these books jumped out at me perusing the stacks at the public library where I work. I picked Scrapbook off the new books shelf and once I opened the cover, I was hooked. Preston, a lifelong scrapbooker and collector of 1920s ephemera, offers up the world’s first “scrapbook novel.” The story of young Frankie Pratt and her halcyon days in the 1920s mirrors what Preston did in her earlier work: offer a re-imagined fictional account of the first love of F. Scott Fitzgerald as told by Ginerva King, the inspiration for Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby.
Preston’s ability to take us to the 1920s is both amazing and uncanny. Her re-creation of the period charmed me as a reader and as a history buff, one who was reared by a woman who came of age during that time period. For me, it was the next-best thing to visiting a bit of the world my mother knew. I put Preston’s re-imagined fiction up there with the best of them: E. l. Doctorow, Geraldine Brooks, Adam Braver.
If you have interest in the Roaring 20s, Gatsby or Fitzgerald, get your hands on these books.