The Trouble with You
by Ellen Feldman
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Pub Date 20 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 05 Mar 2024
St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Griffin
In an exuberant post WWII New York City, a young woman is forced to reinvent her life and choose between the safe and the ethical, and the men who represent each...
Set in New York City in the heady aftermath of World War II when the men were coming home, the women were exhaling in relief, and everyone was having babies, The Trouble With You is the story of a young woman whose rosy future is upended in a single instant. Raised never to step out of bounds, educated in one of the Sister Seven Colleges for a career as a wife and mother, torn between her cousin Mimi who is determined to keep her a “nice girl”—the kind that marries a doctor—and her aunt Rose who has a rebellious past of her own, Fanny struggles to raise her young daughter and forge a new life by sheer will and pluck. When she gets a job as a secretary to the “queen” of radio serials—never to be referred to as soaps—she discovers she likes working, and through her friendship with an actress who stars in the series and a man who writes them, comes face to face with the blacklist which is destroying careers and wrecking lives. Ultimately, Fanny must decide between playing it safe or doing what she knows is right in this vivid evocation of a world that seems at once light years away and strangely immediate.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 109 members
When I got this ARC I was so pleased to have a book by Ellen Feldman to savor on July 4th, but here I am writing this review on July 3rd. I made the mistake of looking at the book and I could not put it down until I finished it! Such a lovely novel and so timely now.
It is the story of Fanny Fabricant who triumphs during a period when everything was stacked against her. “Poor Fanny” lost her husband after he returned from WW II, and left her with a six year old to raise. With the support of her remarkable Aunt Rose, she manages to rebuild her life and become a success as a writer.
Fanny managed to meet men, as well. But, Fanny was ahead of her times and made many brave choices, and became a truly independent woman. I’m so tempted to go into more details, but I want every reader to enjoy the book as I did. I must admit to visualizing a cast for this story when it becomes a film or miniseries. (Okay, Luke Kirby should be Charlie!)
Feldman did her research about the social and political climate of America was during the 1950’s. I must admit to loving the connection to the HUAC and McCarthyism. Obviously, I loved this novel and I can’t wait to share it with book groups. It really has a place in a woman’s studies seminar since it will lead to many fascinating discussions about the roles of wives, mothers and career women.
Thank you Netgalley for this wonderful novel. I highly recommend it and predict it will enthrall many readers.
What a wonderful book and so relevant to the issues women are facing today. It’s the story of a young woman who looses her husband suddenly after he returned home safely from WWll. She is left with a small child to raise and forced to find work in a time when women working was frowned upon. With the support of her remarkable Aunt she finds success as a writer only to face the challenges of McCarthyism and blacklisting. We follow her story as she becomes a truly independent women and how she finds a way to deal with her personal life, career, and the political climate of the 1950s.
I loved this novel and recommend it highly.
Thank you NetGalley, publisher and author for allowing me to review this book.
I was hooked from the cover and I’m so glad I did, it had a great concept for a historical novel. The characters were everything that I was looking for and worked in the World War 2 setting.
I so enjoyed this story of a very interesting time in history. The subjects of blacklisting and women's rights are covered as well as the main character's emotional recovery from a loss. I liked the independent thinking of many of the characters and how they broke from traditional roles in spite of opposition. The writing flowed nicely and kept my interest to the end. I was very involved in the story. This is a new to me author but I will be reading more of her books.
I am a fan of this author and was excited to read her new novel. Set in the McCarthy years, this book highlights that time period when blacklisting authors, writers, actors , etc. was prevalent. The story begins when a recently widowed woman is hired as a secretary to a company that writes scripts for radio soap operas. When she meets several people who have been blacklisted, she chooses the path that she believes in. A fascinating history of that time in history, a must read for those who want to know more about the McCarthy era and how it affected so many lives.
Ellen Feldman's The Trouble with You is very satisfying. The characters jump off the page, the plot is believable - and interesting - and the historical research impeccable. Fanny could have been my mother or her friends. Highly recommended. (And I'll look for more Ellen Feldman!)
Synopsis (from Netgalley, the provider of the book to review)
In an exuberant post-WWII New York City, a young woman is forced to reinvent her life and choose between the safe and the ethical, and the men who represent each.
Set in New York City in the heady aftermath of World War II when the men were coming home, the women were exhaling in relief, and everyone was having babies, The Trouble With You is the story of a young woman whose rosy future is upended in a single instant. Raised never to step out of bounds, educated in one of the Sister Seven Colleges for a career as a wife and mother, torn between her cousin Mimi who is determined to keep her a “nice girl”―the kind that marries a doctor―and her aunt Rose who has a rebellious past of her own, Fanny struggles to raise her young daughter and forge a new life by sheer will and pluck.
When she gets a job as a secretary to the “queen” of radio serials―never to be referred to as soaps―she discovers she likes working, and through her friendship with an actress who stars in the series and a man who writes them, comes face to face with the blacklist which is destroying careers and wrecking lives. Ultimately, Fanny must decide between playing it safe or doing what she knows is right in this vivid evocation of a world that seems at once light years away and strangely immediate.
It seems like Fanny has a family that is as confused as mine is over rules of what was expected of a woman in the 1950s as my mother was: her ambition was to get off the farm and marry a man with income potential … she did that. (My mom was and still is the ultimate micro-manager of everything … including my life when she is not hyper-focused on her perfect, non-adopted/biological son…maybe I need to write THAT book).
Like Fanny wrecking lives, most of us have dealt with women (or mothers) who did this for us or taught us how to do it, especially dealing with The Blacklists of Hollywood. Do you think being “cancelled for being a Karen” is bad now? Well, pick up this book and learn how the 1950s destroyed lives forever courtesy of McCarthy and the HUAC - House Un-American Activities Committee. (For more on that, watch the excellent movie “The Majestic”!)
A great blend of fiction and history – it will be enjoyed by mothers and daughters alike. And if you love historical novels with impeccable research, this book will truly float your boat!
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Franny Fabricant was the product of her time as well as her position in life. Although she graduated from one of the Seven Sisters colleges, she was mostly educated in order to be a successful wife and mother as well as to support her husband’s career by being a good conversationalist and able to hold her own at dinner and cocktail parties.
Her mother passed away while she was still young and thus her aunt, Rose, had a strong effect on her along with the culture in which she was raised. Sometimes the two forces were diametrically opposed. And that is the crux of the story. How Fanny navigates not only young widowhood, being a single mother, and learning how to support herself and her daughter makes for a very interesting story. Throw in the McCarthyism and two men who are polar opposites and therein lies the inner conflict of the main character.
I enjoyed reading Franny’s journey and rooting for her to make the right decisions. Her aunt Rose was a great character and her story was intriguing as well. We got it in little dribbles, but she was a strong character who lived a full life herself even though many people in the book felt sorry for her for never marrying. I liked this character a lot.
This book moves at a nice pace. No explosions, car chases or other crazy drama, just a lovely read with a likeable cast of characters—although one of the men set my teeth on edge—in a good way as far as bringing conflict to the plot.
The setting, era and morals of the day are well set out by the author and this is just very much an enjoyable read. Five Stars.
Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read this E-arc for my honest review.
An excellent historical perspective of strong female characters based in the 1940s-1950s. These women were an inspiration for the women of today. Great story and loved the characters especially Fanny and Rose! Highly recommend.
I was eager to read this after reading and loving Paris Never Leaves You. This book is another well written story with really good characters.
It’s New York after WWll, men are coming home from war, families were able to put down their worry for a bit, and of course, the babies!
Fanny was raised to become a wife and mother. Even college pushed that as a career opportunity! But she doesn’t want to get married and be a housewife. She wants to write. And even when an event she did not expect happens, she still wants a different life.
A single woman raising a child is hard now, I can’t imagine how hard it was the. When she takes a job with a writer of “serials”, never say “soaps”, she is excited.
But this was a scary time. With people seeing communists everywhere, it was much worse in Hollywood. And as Fanny moves ahead, she will have to decide what is more important. Doing the right thing or going along with the crowd.
I enjoyed this one a lot.
Netgalley/ St. Martin’s Press, February 20,2024
The Trouble with You will lift you up and carry you to a different time and place. Post WW2 is the setting for the book and the characters are submerged into the culture and beliefs of the time. It was so interesing and easy to visualize and put yourself right alongside everyone as you experience their trials and joys. A wonderful book!
Thank you to Netgalley.
I just finished The Trouble with You by Ellen Feldman which was an ARC that I received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This was the first book I've read from Ellen Feldman and I can promise, it won't be the last. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. This story takes place after WWII in New York City. Fanny Fabricant was excited for her husband, Max, to return home from the war. Shortly after his return, he unexpectedly dies and Fanny is forced to rediscover herself and move through life without him. While simultaneously picking up the pieces of her broken heart and caring for her young daughter, Fanny finds herself navigating life as a working woman at a time when most women were leaving the workforce and going back to their roles as wives and mothers. She is hired as a secretary for a radio serials editor and quickly learns a dark truth about the industry. Writers and actors are being blacklisted including an actress friend of hers and a witty writer always trying to sneak innuendos into his scripts. When both of their careers are destroyed by being blacklisted, Fanny is faced with a difficult choice.
The characters, the plot, the pacing, and the quality of the writing were all fantastic. I highly recommend picking up this book!
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the eARC.
Wow, I loved this book so much! The main character, Fanny Fabricant, is a young woman who loses her husband right after WWII and has to find work so she and her little girl can survive in a world that isn't kind to women who are single mothers. In those days women didn't have many rights. Plus McCarthyism and a polio outbreak don't make things any easier.
But with her Aunt Rose's help and a job in radio, she grows into a strong, independent woman.
I loved both Fanny and Rose so much and was very happy with Fanny's choices at the end.
I can't recommend this book enough, it's fantastic!