11 September 2017

My White Dahlia by C M Blackwood


AmazonUK £2.35
Amazon US $3.03

Family drama / LGBT
1950s

World War II is over, and life is slowly returning to normal. For Adette Salazar, normal means finding a job with which to support herself and her ailing Uncle Harold, and she is therefore delighted when she is offered the position as assistant to famous writer Dahlia Frobisher. Well, delighted is not really an emotion Adette is familiar with: this is a woman who exercises control in all things, an observer rather than a participant in life. There are reasons for this, of course, and C.M. Blackwood skilfully inserts bits and pieces of Adette’s backstory, thereby increasing the intrigue that surrounds this beautiful and dark-skinned woman.
Where Adette is dark and reserved, Dahlia Frobisher is all sun and light — on the outside. Yet another complicated character, Dahlia carries her own secrets, her own burdens of guilt. At times, blonde and elegant Dahlia comes across as a female version of the enigmatic Great Gatsby. Ms Blackwood even succeeds in creating the illusion that this book will be about Dahlia’s secrets, when in fact it is Adette’s past, her physical and mental scars, that will shape the story.
Two strong and lonely women meet. A tentative friendship blossoms into something more. Adette has spent most of her life shying away from any truly serious relationship, realising that permanent intimacy will at some point require her to share the truth — a truth she prefers not to think about. So when friendship becomes love, Adette is incapable of handling the resulting emotions and flees. Whether Dahlia finds it in her to go after her is up to each reader to find out for themselves.
Ms Blackwood weaves a gripping story set against a time when women are beginning to come into their own. Neither Dahlia nor Adette are dependent on a man for their survival, but in the big, big world a man’s word still carries much more weight than that of a mere woman, no matter how obnoxious the man may be. Dahlia understands the rules of the game and conforms — to a point. Adette has moments when she doesn’t.
Ms Blackwood is an accomplished writer. Her prose flows beautifully throughout, her characters grow out of the page and the historical background is brought to elegant life. The end result is an engrossing read, warmly recommended to all who enjoy romance with depth and a dash of darkness. 

© Anna Belfrage

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