Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin

In 1926, Garnet Richardson meets Isabella Strand, a hotsy-totsy dance hall doll with a Raven-black bob and unflappable confidence. For Garnet, it’s a case of Clara Bow and cupid’s arrow. Does she have a shot at love?


It’s 1926. Prohibition is in and inhibition is out. A young woman could spread her wings, see her dreams take flight, and be free as a bird. Garnet Richardson is not that young woman—yet. In the summer of her sixteenth year, she is taken under the wing of a grim and proper relative, Mrs. Harrington, who, at the request of Garnet’s mother, tries to turn the teenager into a respectable woman and a suitable wife. 


Garnet, however, has no desire to spend her future in a gilded cage. Domesticity is for the birds, but not this bird. This bird is no sitting duck. She’s got wings and things to do with her life besides needlework and housework.


Craving independence, Garnet secures a part-time job in a hat shop. It is there she meets Isabella Strand, a hotsy-totsy dance hall doll with a Raven-black bob and unflappable confidence. For Garnet, it’s a case of Clara Bow and cupid’s arrow. The girls hit it off immediately, and before long, their friendship takes shape, much like the silhouettes Garnet creates of her feathered friends.


Unlike the boundaries of the paper birds, the boundaries of the girls’ relationship are not as clearly defined. Isabella is a live wire who doesn’t follow the rules, cardinal or otherwise. People don’t exactly flock to her—she has a past that others cannot get past. But Garnet can. She overlooks all that jazz and takes her hat off to Isabella, whose daring, caring nature is a “soar” spot for Garnet, offering the once dutiful, diffident girl the opportunity to fly high. Will Garnet choose flight or fight—or both? Will she keep her feelings for Isabella under her hat—or will the girls become lovebirds and fly in the face of convention?


This novel certainly does. It is mesmerizing, every word selected with flair and precision. The plot is perfectly plausible and consistently unpredictable. The dialogue is always authentic, sometimes ironic, but never histrionic. The main characters are audacious, tenacious, and sagacious; yet all the characters are multi-layered and experience growth. 


I have read this book twice. Read it at least once. It’s the bird’s and the bee’s knees.

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