Starring Adele Astaire

Morrow. Jun. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9780063209206. pap. $18.99. F
Knight’s (The Mayfair Bookshop) moving fictionalized portrait of Fred Astaire’s sister Adele follows the real dancer from the 1920s to the 1950s, as she dances to fame on both sides of the Atlantic, marries into the British aristocracy, faces tragedy and World War II, and settles into life back in the States with a new husband. Currently less well-known than her movie-star brother, Adele started in show business when she was a child, performing with Fred in a duo more than a hundred years ago. Knight breathes life into Adele as a character, so readers will celebrate her career, then mourn as her yearning for a home and family is tragically thwarted. A parallel plot of poor London East End dancer Violet Wood adds depth and a friendship between women that stretches across decades. Fascinating, well-researched historical details about the lives of women in show business, many famous people, and World War II make this an emotionally satisfying retelling of the simultaneously privileged and tragic life of a real but mostly forgotten superstar.
VERDICT Will resonate with readers interested in show business, dance, and the history of women’s lives from the 1920s to World War II.
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