Review: A Snug Life Somewhere by Jan Shapin

I can’t say that I am a history buff, but I have found books that are historical in nature really intrigue me. It’s interesting to see how things have changed, and also to see how an author interprets the past and intertwines it with their characters. I learned about the book A Snug Life Somewhere from TLC Book Tours. It was a very interesting read centering around the union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre.

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Title: A Snug Life Somewhere
Author: Jan Shapin
Publisher: Cambridge Books 
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: Paperback, 294 pages
Source: Received from Author for Blog Tour with TLC Books
(** All thoughts and impressions are my own**)

3.5 hippos (3.5 hippos out of 5 hippos)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre. Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe. When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, she is pulled into Gabe as campaign to avenge the Everett Martyrs.She follows Gabe to Mexico (where they live in a household of Bolsheviks bent on smuggling jewels), then to Chicago (where she rediscovers Marcel, steals a Faberge egg and escapes from Gabe). Then a second event intervenes at the Seattle General Strike of 1919. Penny Joe returns to Seattle to confront Gabe and meets up with a mysterious stranger who turns out to be J. Edgar Hoover. Should she give the Faberge egg to Hoover as evidence against Gabe or just disappear and start a new life? Is she ever going to reunite with her lost love, Marcel?

About the Author (from Goodreads):
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Jan Shapin is the author of two novels as well as several plays and screenplays. She has attended Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Film and Television Workshop as well as various other writing programs. She is a member of the Cape Cod Writers’ Center. You can reach her or through her publisher, Write Words. Inc.

My Review:

As I said, I’m not really a history buff, but I do very much enjoy reading books that have a historical aspect to them. This book was no different, I enjoyed reading it, even though I don’t know much about the Everett Massacre or the Seattle General Strike (I’m Canadian so we didn’t learn much about American unions in school). I do however, know about unions and about the various strikes and turmoil in Canada. I really enjoyed reading all about Penny Joe Copper and her adventures. Overall, the book was a good read and had some great historical aspects to it.

I found Penny Joe Copper to be a very strong woman who knew what she wanted and was willing to do what it took to get there.  She is the narrator of the novel and is telling her story and why she did things the way she did them. I felt like she knew what she wanted and was willing to do anything in order to succeed, even if people just saw someone who had lost her brother. Her relationship with Marcel made me feel bad for her, as I’m sure many women would, because he just seemed to go along with things and not really care. Also, it just seemed like everything was against Penny Joe Copper.

Jan Shapin’s writing was very direct- she definitely did not beat around the bush, she got straight to the point. This can be seen straight from the first sentence of the novel “My brother died on November 5, 1916” (5).  The writing flowed very well and made the story progress quickly. 

Overall, if you are interested in history or even unions, then I would suggest checking out this book.

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3 thoughts on “Review: A Snug Life Somewhere by Jan Shapin

  1. Thank you for your nice review.Your historical fiction fans might want to check out the book giveaway for A Snug Life Somewhere on Goodreads that ends April 1.They can also get more information on my website, Thanks again for signing on to the TLC tour. Jan Shapin

  2. Pingback: Jan Shapin, author of A Snug Life Somewhere, on tour February 2014 | TLC Book Tours

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