"The Other Typist" by Suzanne Rindell, one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of the Year for 2013, is now in paperback, and news of a Keira Knightley film has renewed interest in one of last summer's most engaging reads.
The story follows Rose Baker, an ordinary young woman who works as a typist for the New York City Police Department in the early 1920s. Women are still new to the workplace, especially in the NYPD, and Rose continually has to prove that she's not going to faint in the middle of hearing a murder confession. But although Rose is a modern working woman, she's stuck in limbo; the old definition of "ladylike" is gone, and she feels prudish and boring in comparison to the flappers running around town with bobbed hair and devil-may-care attitudes.
With an increase in crime due to Prohibition, the department needs to expand the typing pool, and when a vivacious, stylish new girl named Odalie is hired, Rose's entire world changes. Rose was raised in an orphanage, and without any family or friends, she becomes desperate for the dazzling Odalie to notice her. Soon enough the pair becomes friends, and "the other typist" invites Rose to move in with her. Rose is suddenly lured into a new life full of speakeasies, expensive dresses and jazz, and her obsession with Odalie grows as she becomes more entwined in her new roommate's illicit activities. But soon she learns Odalie isn't the person she thinks she is, and that knowing her will eventually cause her own downfall.
This was one of those books that catches you by surprise when you realize that the narrator is actually an unreliable one. As an orphan, you can understand Rose's need to connect with someone, but her diary entries about Odalie become creepy, and as the novel progresses the reader wonders if Rose is actually the one who's a pathological liar instead of Odalie. With a fast-moving plot, gorgeous details about the jazz age and an ending that will have you thinking for ages, this is a book not to miss.
Enter to win a copy of "The Other Typist" by visiting Facebook, clicking the "giveaway tab" and entering the Rafflecopter drawing. One random winner will be selected on Monday, April 21.