Author: Jillian Larkin
Publication: December 2010, Delacorte Books
What can I say about this book? It had such promise. (Just look at the cover - gorgeous.) Set in the 1920’s with Flappers, speakeasies, and gangsters all wrapped up in one little package with betrayal, scandal, and a little bit of love on top. What could be better? That said, it was an alright read, but I was definitely expecting more.
The main character, Gloria, is a seventeen year old girl who has been arranged a marriage to the dull but wealthy Sebastian Grey. Gloria experiences life as a flapper once before she is completely sold over to the lifestyle. She craves getting out of her loveless marriage arrangement and living on the edge as a 1920’s flapper. Gloria and her friend Marcus sneak into the speakeasy the Green Mill one night, and Gloria meets the enticing black Jazz player Jerome. Here begins an infatuation and love (if you can call it that) that lasts throughout the novel. Gloria starts to rebel against everything her parents have set up for her, testing every limit that was put in place.
Enters Gloria’s trouble causing cousin, Clara. Clara has seen it all; whereas Gloria is just starting to see the other side of society as a flapper, Clara has experienced it all in the big city. Because of the situation Clara previously got herself into, she was sent to stay with Gloria to help set up her wedding. Clara has to put up a good girl façade for her aunt or else she will be sent to boarding school. By this, Flapper Clara becomes Country Clara. Through this transformation, she ends up falling for Gloria’s friend, Marcus.
Next we have Lorraine. Lorraine is Gloria’s best friend in the beginning of the novel, but we start to see a darker side to her by the end. She is tired of living in her friends shadow. Always being prettier, more interesting, just better. She wants her moment in the sun, and she is going to get it no matter the cost.
To be granted, Vixen is a fast, fairly interesting read. I particularly didn’t like any of the characters too much, which is a big part for me. Personally, if I don’t like the characters, it’s hard for me to like the book. A redeeming quality was definitely the interracial relationship between Jerome and Gloria. The fact that she would question the status quo and give up her polished lifestyle for a man she just met is both risky and admirable. Gloria annoyed me much of the novel, but I have to say that her daring moves impressed me. I loved that she wanted to be with Jerome so bad that she laid everything on the line for their relationship- the consequences be damned. The only thing that mattered, in the end, was having him.
I wasn’t too fond of Clara; I thought she needed to make up her mind about who she was and who she wanted to be. Pick one and stick to it. Lorraine, personally, interested me. She was an alcoholic, a nut case, completely sadistic, but I liked her more than either one of the other girls. She might have been shady and cynical, but she definitely had loads of character. I loved Marcus; he was the best part of the novel in my opinion.
Vixen seemed like it was trying to be the Gossip Girl of the 20’s- with some expensive dresses, hairstyles, and silly phrases thrown in. It had a lot of action and drama; there were moments when I just couldn't believe what was going on. In the end, Vixen is a fast read that held my attention throughout the novel even though I was expecting more. I was slightly disappointed at the end of the novel, but I suggest you give Vixen a try for yourself and see what you think.