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Theasa Tuohy

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FLYING JENNY Cover
BOOK REVIEW

FLYING JENNY

BY Theasa Tuohy • POSTED ON May 1, 2018

Two brave women battle to live how they choose and become friends in the process.

Set in 1929, this is a story of female friendship and empowerment, a story of self-discovery. In an era when Marlene Dietrich caused a stir for wearing pants, women are trying their hands, for the first time, in male-centric fields. Jenny is a gifted pilot but is not interested in competition and record-breaking, preferring instead to fly when she feels like it and otherwise live her life. When she successfully pulls a stunt no one has tried before—flying under all of New York City’s bridges—another woman-in-a-man’s-world becomes interested in her. Laura is a reporter, fiercely ambitious and willing to follow Jenny to the Midwest in order to get her story. But she has another reason to want to poke around near St. Louis: Her mother is mute on the subject of her father, but Laura has a photograph that proves her mother was in that area when she was young. Laura hopes to find her roots. At first Laura and Jenny clash, but over the course of the novel, as Laura experiences the joys of flying, the two women come to understand one another and to learn from each other. The prose has a tendency to overexplain, in platitudes, who the characters are and how they are feeling. For example, Laura’s bohemian mother lives in the West Village and has an affair with William Carlos Williams; to describe her, Tuohy (The Five O’Clock Follies, 2012) writes, “Free was Evelyn’s favorite word.” For a novel about an exhilarating experience during an exciting era in American history, it tends toward the unimaginative and is often repetitive.

What should be dramatic is made dull in this historical novel.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61775-621-4

Page count: 288pp

Publisher: Akashic

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

THE FIVE O'CLOCK FOLLIES Cover
BOOK REVIEW

THE FIVE O'CLOCK FOLLIES

BY Theasa Tuohy • POSTED ON Oct. 15, 2012

A freelance writer struggles to find her place among hard-nosed newsmen covering the Vietnam War in this depiction of wartime journalists.

In her debut, former Associated Press editor Tuohy describes the Vietnam War through a journalist’s lens. Freelance writer Angela Martinelli arrives in Saigon in 1968, wearing her “greenness” in the form of high-heeled shoes and a gorgeous mane of red hair. As one of the few women correspondents in a war zone, Angela is greeted with misogyny, skepticism or disdain by her male colleagues, except for Nick, who works for a Chicago newspaper and gives her the benefit of the doubt. She soon proves her merit and bravery in the middle of a covert operation in Cambodia, surviving capture by the Viet Cong, living in a bunker during a siege and chasing truths that the military denies and her fellow reporters doubt. Angela also finds romance in the midst of this chaos; eventually she must choose: her career or love. Angela’s determination is commendable as she forges ahead in spite of incredible dangers and an unconscionable lack of professional support. She’s a model for young women seeking equality in male-dominated professions. Some portions of the book are slow, but they accurately reflect the downtime journalists endure between scoops—hanging out at bars, drinking Scotch, swapping gossip and waiting for the next gig. The story picks up steam when Tuohy describes pivotal moments of the war: the Tet offensive, the siege of Khe Sanh, soldiers on the line and the horrific injuries they sustained, even the psychological torment of walking endlessly through the jungle. The action is riveting and the writing is clear, detailed and highly readable.

An engrossing portrait of a woman among men in wartime.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0984779918

Page count: 368pp

Publisher: Calliope

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2012

THE WOMAN AT LA GARE DE L'EST Cover
MYSTERY & CRIME

THE WOMAN AT LA GARE DE L'EST

BY Theasa Tuohy

An American woman in Paris, about to start rehearsals for a play, gets mixed up in an espionage plot in Tuohy’s novel.

While accompanying her sister Vicki, her four-year-old niece Miranda, and her friend Mary to the Gare de l’Est train station, Sarah, who’d recently been cast in an English/French stage production, is haunted by the sight of the same striking woman in two different locations. Her companions think it’s an ordinary coincidence, but it quickly turns out to be just the start of a high-stakes game in which each member of the group, including young Miranda, is a potential target of criminals. One of them has been chosen to smuggle an item without her knowledge, and whatever it is, it’s apparently worth killing for. As antagonists close in, each woman must fight to protect those they love, and when Parisian authorities seem unable to help, they undertake their own detective work to bring their pursuers to justice. These fierce women interrogate and investigate, finding connections between a string of highly unsettling events. Sarah, however, fits best into this milieu, as her mind is often filled with exciting movie scenes. (She counts acting legend Sarah Bernhardt as a personal hero.) Sarah keeps young Miranda from imminent danger, finding her own strength and courage in the process. Over the course of this novel, Tuohy offers a thoroughly fun and consistently exciting tale. Fans of suspense fiction may find themselves able to quickly surmise the object of the criminals’ desire, but the plot’s numerous twists and turns will keep them wondering about the identity of the villain in the women’s midst. Although lives are lost as the events unfold, the author deftly avoids gratuitous gore and violence, offering thrills that are suitable for a wide range of readers. Moreover, Tuohy’s glimpse into Parisian life is often engaging, revealing the diversity of the city. Overall, the narrative is well paced, well researched, and certain to be well loved by readers.

A twisty, thrilling tale of the City of Light.

Pub Date:

Page count: 256pp

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2022