Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

Since I'm a bit of a 1920s nut -- I have a blog about my 1920s-themed wedding, and I'm writing a series of novels about vampires in the 1920s -- I was thrilled to see a story on NPR about The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt.  It's described as "a novel in pictures," and the NPR story says that Preston bought old images from more than 300 eBay sellers in order to illustrate her novel.  This is incredibly interesting to me, since I've been using 1920s French photo postcards as representations of my characters, and as images for my website and (future) book covers.

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is available now in both hardcover and ebook, but I actually recommend the hardcover -- it's a beautiful book, and the illustrations are simply worth seeing on the page.  (I do love ebooks, and probably would have gotten it in that format if it had been available initially, but I am glad now that I have it in hardcover.)

Every page is a collage of real images from the era, arranged to tell the story in pictures of a small town girl who goes to the big city and even to Paris in search of her dreams.  There is perhaps a sentence or two on every page, to move the story along, but the pictures make up as much -- or more -- of the book as the simple narrative.  You can flip through the entire book in an hour, but you can also take the time to look at all the pictures, and flip through it again to see what you might have missed.  It's a lot of fun to see all those 1920s images, and I highly recommend the book to anyone who appreciates vintage postcards and such, especially if they are interested in the Roaring Twenties.

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