cover image The Typewriter Girl

The Typewriter Girl

Alison Atlee. S&S/Gallery, $15 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4516-7325-8

Atlee’s outstanding debut unflinchingly explores the harrowing difficulties faced by an indigent young woman trying to support herself in the harsh and unforgiving man’s world of Victorian England. “All angles and points,” both physically and emotionally, Miss Betsey Dobson is determined to prove herself in the grueling secretarial pool at the London firm of Baumston & Smythe, Insurers, but she’s at the mercy of gossiping co-workers and a lecherous junior clerk. Betsey takes her revenge and escapes, near-penniless, to the carefully researched seaside resort town of Idensea, where she’s offered a well-paying tour-manager job by young John Jones, a Welshman with “a good face, open as a summer window.” Betsey’s fierce struggles to preserve her independence and succeed in a job she knows perilously little about parallel the poignantly crescendoing attraction between her and John, complicated by his determination to “marry up”—perchance to slyly drawn villainess Miss Lillian Gilbey. Atlee’s splendid cast of supporting characters, her insights into Betsey’s passion for independence and John’s compassion for the downtrodden, and her fine eye for period detail make this an unusually satisfying feast for romance readers. Agent: Emmanuelle Morgen, Judith Ehrlich Literary Management. (Feb.)