Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy #bookreview #historical #womensfiction

Title: Shoulder Season

Author: Christina Clancy

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: July 6, 2021

Page Count:  336

My rating: 4 stars

About the book:

A dazzling portrait of a young woman coming into her own, the youthful allure of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and what we lose—and gain—when we leave home.


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.

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy is a historical women’s fiction novel set in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in the early 1980s. While this title is fiction it is based on a true location of the Lake Geneva Playboy Club. The club was opened in May of 1968 as a Playboy resort and stayed through the early 80s with young women dressed as the famous Playboy Bunnies waiting on guests. After it closed up the resort was eventually sold and reopened in the 90s as the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa.

Sherri Taylor grew up in the neighboring small town of East Troy never feeling like she fit in and always awkward in her own skin. At nineteen Sherri’s best friend told her that she was applying at the resort to be a bunny and she wanted Sherri to tag along and interview too. Sherri thought she was crazy to go along thinking there was no way she would ever get the job so when she was offered the position and her friend wasn’t she was shocked. Sherri couldn’t turn down the opportunity to make more money than she would at anything in her small town so she accepts the job and heads to Lake Geneva.

As they say, you learn something new every day.. I had no idea before picking up this title that there even were Playboy resorts across the country at one point. I think it was interesting to get this glimpse of what probably was close to reality for these ladies in that era. The book spans forty some years from start to finish with Christina Clancy’s writing reminding me of a Danielle Steel novel where there are times that seem a bit too info dump-ish to cover a lot in the book. I’m not a huge fan of that style but will be forgiving when the story is compelling enough to keep me engaged through those moments which was what I found in here. I also really enjoyed how everything came about in the end making this one worth the read overall.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon **

About the author:

CHRISTINA CLANCY is the author of The Second Home. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Sun Magazine and in various literary journals, including Glimmer Train, Pleiades and Hobart. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and lives in Madison, WI with her family.

**This is an Amazon affiliate link which will allow me as an associate to earn a small commision on any purchase made through the link of the products I share and that commission in no way changes the pricing of any items for the buyer.

6 Comments on “Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy #bookreview #historical #womensfiction

    • Thanks Kim! I guessed I was just a bit too young to hear about them since it seems to have gone away in the early 80s but with it being fairly close by I was certainly curious and had to look into it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This sounds more than interesting, Carrie. I can’t remember even seeing this on Netgalley, and I am sure I would have remembered that cover. Another for my library list. ❤📚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly I think I’ve had this one for like two years now. I think it may have been one that got pushed back due to covid because it’s definitely been quite a while since I requested and got approved.

      Liked by 1 person

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