Shoulder Season, Christina Clancy

Shoulder Season follows the very naïve Sherri Taylor as she goes from caretaker for her mother to a Playboy bunny. Clancy explores some real-world issues that are still relevant today. Some of the text made me cringe, and that was clearly Clancy’s intent.

“She wanted to convince Gwen that she wasn’t racist without coming across the way Rhonda did when Gwen said she was saving for college. “Oh, good for you!” she said in an overly congratulatory tone…” If that doesn’t make you cringe, I don’t know what would.

Sherri’s naivety makes her an easy mark for people to take advantage of. Unfortunately, that happens a lot to her. She gets swept up in a world she never imagined for herself. Because she isn’t street smart, she gets herself into these sketchy situations. But she’s loving life and is among women she considers family, but it’s clear that she’s spiraling. This story takes us through those years and her friendship with Roberta, which she always comes back to.

There are a few text inconsistencies that I imagine might be resolved before release day. Such as Sherri drinking Mad Dog 20/20, which didn’t come out until four years after this story takes place. For me, the story really found its groove in the last 20 percent of the book, and that’s when I found myself unable to put it down. Overall, this is an engaging story. I enjoyed the time frame and the way Clancy framed the story. Thank you, St. Martin’s, for sending this along.

Shoulder Season is available on Amazon for $14.99.

Read this review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.

About the Book:

The small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is an unlikely location for a Playboy Resort, and nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor is an unlikely bunny. Growing up in neighboring East Troy, Sherri plays the organ at the local church and has never felt comfortable in her own skin. But when her parents die in quick succession, she leaves the only home she’s ever known for the chance to be part of a glamorous slice of history. In the winter of 1981, in a costume two sizes too small, her toes pinched by stilettos, Sherri joins the daughters of dairy farmers and factory workers for the defining experience of her life.

Living in the “bunny hutch”—Playboy’s version of a college dorm—Sherri gets her education in the joys of sisterhood, the thrill of financial independence, the magic of first love, and the heady effects of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But as spring gives way to summer, Sherri finds herself caught in a romantic triangle—and the tragedy that ensues will haunt her for the next forty years.

From the Midwestern prairie to the California desert, from Wisconsin lakes to the Pacific Ocean, this is a story of what happens when small town life is sprinkled with stardust, and what we lose—and gain—when we leave home. With a heroine to root for and a narrative to get lost in, Christina Clancy’s Shoulder Season is a sexy, evocative tale, drenched in longing and desire, that captures a fleeting moment in American history with nostalgia and heart.


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