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Red Letter Days

by Sarah-Jane Stratford

Red Letter Days by Sarah-Jane Stratford X
Red Letter Days by Sarah-Jane Stratford
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  • Claire M. (Wrentham, MA)
    Seeing Red
    Evoking the Eisenhower years in the writers' colony that was Greenwich Village of 1955 NYC, the reader is quickly drawn into a nightmare. Our television writer heroine is struggling to be taken seriously in her profession and pay her way, while also shouldering responsibility for her sister's medical bills. This is burden enough, but when Phoebe Adler comes to the top of the blacklist she is driven from home. The women-in-peril thriller scenario rises to the fore when Adler jumps onto a ship bound for London. After the breakneck pace of escape, the reader breathes in the rain-soaked London air with momentary relief.

    The expat community of London is deftly drawn and their community of support provides a safety net for the desperate. The more civilized Brits think the Red hysteria in the States is a bit of joke, until they realize their own livelihoods are indirectly impacted. Will the American Congress realize the error of their ways?
    Author Stratford drives the action to the brink and beyond in this thought-provoking depiction of political persecution and manipulation of public opinion. Is it difficult to imagine neighbors informing on each other when Stratford draws clear parallels to our uncertain present? Savvy book groups will compare the rarity of "career gals," the stigma of divorce and the anomaly of women at the helm with present day struggles for equal pay, justice for domestic violence and the low percentage of women in top tier management.
  • Gayla M. (Frisco, TX)
    Interesting premise and characters
    I love to read about the inner workings of television and theater production and this book had that and more. I had a vague knowledge about the McCarthy era and HUAC so this part was really interesting too. I thought the character development was good and the plot interesting. It was a little slow in some places and there were a few things that I thought the story could have done without, but overall I thought it was a good book.
  • Vicky R. (Roswell, GA)
    Intrigue and humor
    I really enjoyed the way this author paired light humor with suspense and intrigue. She also merged fact with fiction and I was carried along by this story until the end.
  • Joanne V. (Towanda, PA)
    The McCarthy Era
    I really enjoyed this book dealing with an era that I have not read much about although was in my early teens during this time. It was quite similar to another one I was reading at the same time, "The Chelsea Girls" by Fiona Davis that was based on the same theme and time period. I thought the characters in "Red Letter Days" were well drawn and believable and the author did a really good job depicting the era, obviously well researched. It would be an interesting book for a book club discussion and the comparison with "The Chelsea Girls" would be interesting as well. I liked both very much and thank you BookBrowse for the opportunity to read and review.
  • Sandra C. (Rensselaer, NY)
    Once I got into the book I found it entertaining and informative. Blacklisting of the entertainment society was something I heard of but was unaware of its ramifications. Both Hannah and Phoebe portrayed women who were not of the norm at that time. The author made both of the women believable.
  • Tracey S. (Largo, FL)
    Red Letter Days
    I enjoyed the book, although it took me awhile to get into it. In the 50s, Phoebe was a young writer who was falsely accused of being a Communist. She quickly found out who her real friends were. She fled to London to live where she wasn't known and hoping she could live her life free of this stigma. The Red Scare was a part of history I really didn't know too much about as I was a young child at the time. I think this would be a good discussion book for book clubs.
  • Christine P. (Essex Junction, VT)
    Red Letter Days
    Sarah-Jane Stratford's book, Red Letter Days, gives the reader an interesting and scary look into the real everyday consequences of the red scare era both in the United States and England. It was a time in our history I knew little about and the book was an easy way to learn more about HUAC, the McCarthy Era, and the new feminism that was emerging after World War II. Red Letter Days was a quick and easy read that kept my attention right up to the end, even though the plot was a bit predictable and formulaic, as when Phoebe rescues Nigel in the beginning of the book and the inevitable romance with Reg. For those who love historical fiction, this book is a keeper.
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