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August 11, 2020

We Came Here to Shine by Susie Orman Schnall ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

The 1939 World's Fair in New York City:

"Tens of millions of attendees from near and far are expected to descend upon the far this summer to tour its international pavilions, observe it's art installations, be awed by its technological inventions, behold it's architectural spectacles, enjoy its vast amusements." (loc 27)

I hereby dedicate the World's Fair, the New York World's Fair of 1939. And I declare it open to all mankind".
-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, April 30, 1939
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

We Came Here to Shine
June 2020; Griffin; 978-1250169785
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); historical fiction
We Came Here to Shine
is about two women who appear to be complete opposites but end up becoming friends at the 1939 World's Fair in New York City.  Viva is an actress from Hollywood and Max is a journalism student.  They both are forced to work at the fair not by their desire but by a studio owner and a professor but the more they see of the extravaganza, the more they get settled into their new jobs.

Viva is an up and coming actress who has just been hired for her first starring role in a movie after several years of playing bit parts. The morning that the movie is supposed to start filming, she is called into the office of the studio owner and told that she looks too innocent to be playing the main role in this movie and that someone else has been hired for the role.  She's told that if she'll go to New York to be the lead in the Aquacade with Johnny Weissmuller for a year, there will be a starring movie role waiting for her when she gets back.  With no other choice, she packs up her apartment, tells her long time boyfriend that she's leaving, and takes the train to NYC.  When she goes to the pool the first day, she's met with resentment by some of the cast and by a huge role that she needs to learn right away but she knows that she has a starring role waiting for her back in Hollywood so she starts learning the dances and keeps her upbeat, though nervous, attitude.

Max is a journalism student and ready to start her last year of college.  She's wanted to be a reporter at the New York Times since she was a child.  The professor hands out papers telling all of the students where they will do their internship for the summer and she is very disappointed when she sees that she's been given a summer job at the newspaper at the World's Fair and not the New York Times job that she requested.  When she starts the job, she is told that she won't be allowed to write any articles but will instead be writing the daily list of activities and working in the office while a fellow male student gets all the work that she desires. She decides to make the best of it but to try to find chances to undermine the male student and write some articles.

Vivi and Max are both facing sexism in a very blatant manner - their lives are totally determined by the men that they work for and they are both unable to break out of their roles.  When they meet each other, they quickly become good friends and share their disappointment with each other.  As the summer goes on, will their friendship help give them the strength to obtain their goals?  This is a story about love and friendship, sexism, and meeting personal goals all taking place at the beautiful World's Fair.

Buy We Came Here to Shine at Amazon

How it begins...

Monday, May 22
Vivi Holden would eventually realize that not getting what she wanted that day was the best thing that could have happened to her. But it was still early in Los Angeles. And the not-getting hadn't yet taken place.

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Another fantastic book by this author is The Subway Girls - read my review.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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  1. Great opening lines, and I love that book cover. Here's mine: “PARIS NEVER LEAVES YOU”

  2. I really want to read this one. I love the setting and the synopsis.

  3. This is on my wishlist, thanks for sharing your thoughts