The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc’s.
Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn't know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.
She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.
Few details are known about Bonnie's life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 9th 2017
by Forge Books
Becoming Bonnie is exactly what the title implies, how Bonnelyn Parker becomes the Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde fame. This book has been on my kindle since it’s release and knowing that the sequel Side by Side is coming out next month I knew it was time to dig in (I snagged an arc of Side by Side and have already started reading it).
I didn’t really have an image of what Bonnie was like, my only reference has been the movie with Faye Dunaway and an episode of Timeless (wasn't impressed). Becoming Bonnie tells the story of a young girl with aspirations, she has hopes and dreams for the future. There is very little known of her early life and the author put the pieces together to create this awesome story. Her teen years were hard enough before the depression hit. I’m not going to go into details about what takes place or how Bonnelyn becomes just Bonnie. Suffice to say this was a very enjoyable book.
It wasn't just Bonnie's story, but also a look at the time period. Prohibition, the Depression and just the everyday struggle to make ends meet (often it wasn't possible), life wasn't easy and that was portrayed vividly. This is the author's debut and I am impressed, I hope she takes on more female villains in history.
My thanks to the publisher for a ebook copy for a honest review.