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Life went terribly wrong for Addie Bates in San Diego, and she’s been running from dark memories ever since. For fifteen years, the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony has provided a safe haven for Addie to hide from the crime she committed. But when the residents pack up to go on exhibit at the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego, Addie returns and must face the thrilling yet terrifyi Life went terribly wrong for Addie Bates in San Diego, and she’s been running from dark memories ever since. For fifteen years, the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony has provided a safe haven for Addie to hide from the crime she committed. But when the residents pack up to go on exhibit at the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego, Addie returns and must face the thrilling yet terrifying prospect of reuniting with her estranged sister, Wavey. Addie isn’t the only one interested in a reunion. When her niece, Rumor, discovers she has an aunt, Rumor is determined to bring her family together. But it’s not so easy when the women are forced to confront family secrets, past and present. Set against the backdrop of the 1935 world’s fair, Whistling Women explores the complex relationships between sisters, the sacrifices required to protect family, and the devastating consequences of a single impulsive act.


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Life went terribly wrong for Addie Bates in San Diego, and she’s been running from dark memories ever since. For fifteen years, the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony has provided a safe haven for Addie to hide from the crime she committed. But when the residents pack up to go on exhibit at the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego, Addie returns and must face the thrilling yet terrifyi Life went terribly wrong for Addie Bates in San Diego, and she’s been running from dark memories ever since. For fifteen years, the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony has provided a safe haven for Addie to hide from the crime she committed. But when the residents pack up to go on exhibit at the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego, Addie returns and must face the thrilling yet terrifying prospect of reuniting with her estranged sister, Wavey. Addie isn’t the only one interested in a reunion. When her niece, Rumor, discovers she has an aunt, Rumor is determined to bring her family together. But it’s not so easy when the women are forced to confront family secrets, past and present. Set against the backdrop of the 1935 world’s fair, Whistling Women explores the complex relationships between sisters, the sacrifices required to protect family, and the devastating consequences of a single impulsive act.

30 review for Whistling Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Aditi

    “Sisters, as you know, also have a unique relationship. This is the person who has known you your entire life, who should love you and stand by you no matter what, and yet it's your sister who knows exactly where to drive the knife to hurt you the most.” ----Lisa See Kelly Romo, an American author, pens her debut novel, Whistling Women , that narrates the story of two women, one thirty-something living in the Nudist colony with a past from which she is trying hard to run away from and another “Sisters, as you know, also have a unique relationship. This is the person who has known you your entire life, who should love you and stand by you no matter what, and yet it's your sister who knows exactly where to drive the knife to hurt you the most.” ----Lisa See Kelly Romo, an American author, pens her debut novel, Whistling Women , that narrates the story of two women, one thirty-something living in the Nudist colony with a past from which she is trying hard to run away from and another a fifteen years old young lady, who is curious about everything in life and is trying to figure out her divorced-alcoholic mother's past. The paths of these two women cross during the California Pacific International Exposition in the year of 1935. And this is their story. Synopsis: Life went terribly wrong for Addie Bates in San Diego, and she’s been running from dark memories ever since. For fifteen years, the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony has provided a safe haven for Addie to hide from the crime she committed. But when the residents pack up to go on exhibit at the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego, Addie returns and must face the thrilling yet terrifying prospect of reuniting with her estranged sister, Wavey. Addie isn’t the only one interested in a reunion. When her niece, Rumor, discovers she has an aunt, Rumor is determined to bring her family together. But it’s not so easy when the women are forced to confront family secrets, past and present. Set against the backdrop of the 1935 world’s fair, Whistling Women explores the complex relationships between sisters, the sacrifices required to protect family, and the devastating consequences of a single impulsive act. Addie is a nudist and lives in the Nudist Colony and have been living their all her adulthood. Mostly because she is trying to keep the skeletons from her terrible past in her closet, but when the residents of the colony prepare themselves to host an exhibition of the nudist show in the Exposition in San Diego, Addie is scared to face her horrible past one more time, especially more scared to face her elder sister, Wavey, who had stopped all communication and had put an end to their sisterly bond long time ago because of the crime that Addie did. Rumor, Wavey's daughter and Addie's niece is excited when she figured out that her mother has a sister and is on the crossroads on whether to make a contact with her as she works as a nudist in the fair which she is completely against it. Will these two ladies form a bond? Will Wavey every forgive Addie? And what was the crime that tore up Addie and Wavey's relationship? Read this book to unravel all these questions! Firstly, the setting of the book is really unique set against the backdrop of 20th century World's Fair in San Diego which has been vividly painted into the story line. Yes it feels like riding on a time-machine and being time-traveled to the year 1935 when everything was so colorful and so bright. From the landscape to the fashion to the streets to the beaches to the dramatic insights into the World's Fair, the author has certainly penned them with striking details that felt like the scenes are unrolling right in front of my eyes. The writing style of the author is eloquent and charming with a free-flowing narrative. The pacing of the book is moderate as there are lots of layers in the main story line and it took me quite a deal of time to adjust into the story. There is an air of suspense in the mood that the author set up with Addie's mysterious past and it certainly did the trick as it kept me hooked into the story to know what exactly Addie did that drove her away from her sister's life. The female characters, unlike the time-period, are developed with strength and independence. The main characters, both, Addie and Rumor are strong females and can figure out their way on their own and especially without the help of a male character, unlike Wavey, who is completely dependent on men, which finally becomes a reason for destruction in her life. Addie is a nudist and she is not ashamed of it, and I really loved her demeanor when she felt extremely comfortable in her own skin in the public. Yes it is somewhat scary to picture that in modern times, but if you think like the author is trying to depict, then it feels really brave enough to show skin out in the public. Addie has kept her past hidden in her heart and with that has locked up all her emotions, hence she never dated anyone. Rumor is that determining force which finally makes both Addie and Wavey to face their past and embrace their future together. Unlike other fifteen year old girls, Rumor is fierce, curious, investigative and loves fishing. She is the real charm of this sad yet delightful story. The rest of the supporting characters are also quite well-developed. In a nutshell, this is an engrossing story that will not only transport the readers back in a different era but will also deeply mode them with this stirring story about two sisters. Verdict: For fans of women's fiction and historical fiction, this is a perfect book which is poignant yet captivating. Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Kelly Romo, for giving me an opportunity to read and review her book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    *1.5 stars I didn't care for this book. It could be wrong timing but I just had a hard time getting into this story. It wasn't badly written, Kelly Romo can write. I think perhaps it was the story itself that bugged me. Others complained of it being slow-paced but that didn't really bother me. For me, I didn't like the nudist colony angle. It wasn't interesting to me in the slightest. Nor did I really care for the characters besides Mary and Rumour. Wavey and Addie? No, I didn't like them at all. *1.5 stars I didn't care for this book. It could be wrong timing but I just had a hard time getting into this story. It wasn't badly written, Kelly Romo can write. I think perhaps it was the story itself that bugged me. Others complained of it being slow-paced but that didn't really bother me. For me, I didn't like the nudist colony angle. It wasn't interesting to me in the slightest. Nor did I really care for the characters besides Mary and Rumour. Wavey and Addie? No, I didn't like them at all. There were also some subject matters that I also didn't like, not going to reveal as I don't want to spoil it for other readers. Maybe if I had liked Addie I would have cared about the story more. I just didn't like her, though. As I said, the book was well-written but it failed to make me interested in the characters and their lives. **Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot.... I'm not entirely sure what I expected when I requested Kelly Romo's Whistling Women for review. I was attracted to the premise because it sounded 'different' and I liked the idea of reading something a little offbeat, but the reality didn't work as well as I initially hoped. First and foremost, I didn't care for the characters. Despite possessing a wealth of potential, no member of the cast sparked my attention and/or intere Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot.... I'm not entirely sure what I expected when I requested Kelly Romo's Whistling Women for review. I was attracted to the premise because it sounded 'different' and I liked the idea of reading something a little offbeat, but the reality didn't work as well as I initially hoped. First and foremost, I didn't care for the characters. Despite possessing a wealth of potential, no member of the cast sparked my attention and/or interest. Beginning to end I felt the characters shuffled across the various scenes, spouting their lines without passion or purpose. In short I was unconvinced and that made it exceedingly difficult to accept the drama they were meant to experience. The story did pick up round the halfway mark, but at that point I felt it too little too late. The novel was readable, but by the time things started to happen I found I didn't care how it ended. To be perfectly blunt, the novelty had worn itself and my interest had waned. I was already considering my next book and had all but checked out of Addie's story. That said, the straw that broke the camel's back was the resolution, or rather, the lack there of. The story culminates in a vague conclusion that left me wholly unsatisfied. Maybe it's just me, but I had too many unanswered question and felt the narrative had too many loose ends. The story didn't feel complete and that's not an impression I like having at the end of any novel. Bottom line, Whistling Women wasn't my cup of tea and I'd have a hard time recommending to other readers.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Caceres

    I received an ARC edition of this book from NetGalley. I requested this novel because I enjoy historical fiction. Wavey and Addie lose their parents when they are young. Relatives take in Wavey because she is old enough to help on their farm and Addie is placed orphan asylum. When Wavey marries she sends for Addie to come live with her in San Diego. Sadly the home environment is not ideal and Addie is driven to commit an act that causes her to be sent away and sets off a string of events that for I received an ARC edition of this book from NetGalley. I requested this novel because I enjoy historical fiction. Wavey and Addie lose their parents when they are young. Relatives take in Wavey because she is old enough to help on their farm and Addie is placed orphan asylum. When Wavey marries she sends for Addie to come live with her in San Diego. Sadly the home environment is not ideal and Addie is driven to commit an act that causes her to be sent away and sets off a string of events that forever change Wavey's life. After 17 years Addie finds herself back in San Diego. She meets her niece Rumor who turns out to be the real star of this book. She is a strong wiilled 15 year old who will not stop until her family is reunited. Addie doesn't know what happened to Wavey after she left all those years ago. Wavey has a number of secrets. Rumors persistence forces the sisters to face the past so that a future for their family can be found. The book is set in the first part of the 20th century during the World's Fair. Mission Beach also serves as a backdrop for the story as Rumor and her sister Mary spend Sundays with their father, Papa Jack. I loved the locale and period of this book. And it also offers strong independent women. That is probably my favorite aspect because in that era women didn't have the freedoms and equality that we enjoy today.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cindy H.

    Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing me with an ARC of Whistling Women by Kelly Romo. In exchange I am offering my honest opinion. While I found the setting and time period very interesting, I had problems with the pacing and consistency of this novel. The story dragged on for way too long before any real action began and the characters dialogue seemed to float in and out of the correct time period. I was not able to connect with the main characters although young Rumor Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing me with an ARC of Whistling Women by Kelly Romo. In exchange I am offering my honest opinion. While I found the setting and time period very interesting, I had problems with the pacing and consistency of this novel. The story dragged on for way too long before any real action began and the characters dialogue seemed to float in and out of the correct time period. I was not able to connect with the main characters although young Rumor was a delight. The big family secret was never fully revealed and the plot and storyline left me feeling disappointed. I had high hopes for Whistling Women, but unfortunately for me this book was too ho-hum!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I was given an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. Looking forward to this book, I love the thought of going to a World's Fair! I really enjoyed this story. It was a different location and time period than I am used to reading in my historical novels, but I was happy to go outside my comfort zone. Since I knew this was an uncorrected proof, I ignored spelling and grammar errors. San Diego - 1935 Sisters Mary and Rumor are trying to enjoy their childhood, but their mother t I was given an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. Looking forward to this book, I love the thought of going to a World's Fair! I really enjoyed this story. It was a different location and time period than I am used to reading in my historical novels, but I was happy to go outside my comfort zone. Since I knew this was an uncorrected proof, I ignored spelling and grammar errors. San Diego - 1935 Sisters Mary and Rumor are trying to enjoy their childhood, but their mother tends to be absent or drunk. The World's Fair is coming to San Diego and long with it brings excitement and secrets. The most talked about and condemned sights is the nudist colony where a patron can pay to see the nudists in a 'Garden of Eden'. Of course most of the nudist are beautiful young women - they have to make their money somehow. Rumor discovers an aunt she never knew about is one of the nudist and sets out on a mission to meet and get to know her. In doing so, she unravels deep family secrets that everyone wishes to never speak of. Trigger warning - there are rape scenes in this novel. So why not 5 stars? I think Rumor and Aunt Addie were done wonderfully. They are full rounded characters and while I did not agree with everything they did, I understood them and their actions. Supporting characters such as Sal, Papa Jack, Ty, Joe, the Chickens were well done as well. However, I considered Mary and Wavey major characters but they were somehow lacking. Wavey's changes in character seemed dramatic and unclear. Clyde's role seemed odd and out of place. Ruby? I don't even know what to say. And what the heck happened to Addie when she left San Diego when she was young? (It's hinted at through the book, but I was unclear about the whole time). But overall a great story in an interesting setting.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    I loved this book!!! I tried to read it all in one sitting, but it was getting daylight and I had errands to run today. I cannot praise this book enough! I absolutely loved the characters - Mary cracked me up with her "yes, darling". It was as if I really knew the characters and was with them throughout the book. And the story as a whole, had me so intrigued. I just kept wanting to slap Wavey for what she did to her sister and how she kept turning her away. And the scene with Rumor and Mildred to I loved this book!!! I tried to read it all in one sitting, but it was getting daylight and I had errands to run today. I cannot praise this book enough! I absolutely loved the characters - Mary cracked me up with her "yes, darling". It was as if I really knew the characters and was with them throughout the book. And the story as a whole, had me so intrigued. I just kept wanting to slap Wavey for what she did to her sister and how she kept turning her away. And the scene with Rumor and Mildred towards the end, that was just classic! There was just so much good about this book. I know it will be on my Top 12 for 2015! It was seriously that good. You knew there were secrets and they would come out a little bit at a time. Then I would go OMG! Then towards the end when all the secrets came out and I picked up my jaw from off my Ipad. I actually had goosebumps at how well the author had put the whole thing together. It was like she was working a puzzle and knew exactly where every piece went the first time she held it. I cannot recommend this book enough. I haven't really heard any buzz about this book, but there should be. There should be a lot of buzz. A HUGE thanks to Lake Union Publishing and Net Galley for providing me with this free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. Serious readers need to get on the bandwagon and be ahead of the crowd on this one, it's that good!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    This book was OK for me...parts of it I really liked, I loved hearing about the California Exposition in the 30's & who ever thinks of nudist colonies anymore? I remember being a child & hearing about them & how shocked they sounded. The story itself was just too many things all going on for me. I did like Rumor & how she came to meet her Aunt Addie & I really loved Addie's character. Thanks to net galley for an advance copy of this book, although I didn't get to read it until after it came out! This book was OK for me...parts of it I really liked, I loved hearing about the California Exposition in the 30's & who ever thinks of nudist colonies anymore? I remember being a child & hearing about them & how shocked they sounded. The story itself was just too many things all going on for me. I did like Rumor & how she came to meet her Aunt Addie & I really loved Addie's character. Thanks to net galley for an advance copy of this book, although I didn't get to read it until after it came out!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Geha

    ~*~ thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the copy of this book to read and review ~*~ I was drawn to this book at first because in the blurb a nudist colony was mentioned. My parents once belonged to a nudist colony so I had an interest in the topic and hoped more would have been mentioned about it in the story although the nudist colony was not the main focus at all. Additionally, having family that lives in the San Diego area, it was a pleasure to read about what it must have be ~*~ thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the copy of this book to read and review ~*~ I was drawn to this book at first because in the blurb a nudist colony was mentioned. My parents once belonged to a nudist colony so I had an interest in the topic and hoped more would have been mentioned about it in the story although the nudist colony was not the main focus at all. Additionally, having family that lives in the San Diego area, it was a pleasure to read about what it must have been like a century ago. I could easily visualize the places mentioned as they are now and must have been back then. I once lived in bungalows described in the book and remember them well. I truly enjoyed this foray into the past and my past, too. The story was of sisters – two sets of sisters separated by a generation and linked through blood. Neither set of sisters had an easy life although both sets did care for one another and for the next generation of sisters though it was not always apparent or easy for them to express. Other reviewers will give the details of the story, probably outline the plot, explain what was and was not liked by them and hand out a rating. I am going to list comments that I wrote down while reading this story – a story that once I began reading I had difficulty putting down: Historically accurate Vivid Vibrant Well crafted Complex characters Wonderful turns of phrase Luscious descriptions Evocative Cinematic Graphic Grand Wonderful Enthralling Sweet Challenging And more… I enjoy reading a book that makes me think and feel and helps me to see what may have been…this book did all of that and more. I highly recommend “Whistling Woman” and look forward to reading any other books that Kelly Romo may write in the future if they are as well written as this one.

  10. 5 out of 5

    nikkia neil

    Thanks Lake Union Publishing and netgalley for this arc. Awesome job with making the time period come alive! I felt like I could have been in California myself and hope to one day see the sights described by Rumor, Addie, and Mary. This is a great book for book clubs because all women will relate with this story. Sisters, friends, family- we all need each other but things aren't peachy all the time and whoever acts like they don't have problems are hypocrites. It's usually the ones that go out of Thanks Lake Union Publishing and netgalley for this arc. Awesome job with making the time period come alive! I felt like I could have been in California myself and hope to one day see the sights described by Rumor, Addie, and Mary. This is a great book for book clubs because all women will relate with this story. Sisters, friends, family- we all need each other but things aren't peachy all the time and whoever acts like they don't have problems are hypocrites. It's usually the ones that go out of their way to make everyone think their lives are perfect.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sara Strand

    I'm going to start by telling you that this book is a little over 400 pages so it's no joke. Secondly, so much of it could be taken out and the story would not suffer. Just, it's a public plea from me to authors- just stop it. You can stop adding all of this fluff, none of us want the fluff. It doesn't add to your story, it makes a person want to put it down. But don't put this one down, read through the fluff, because it's worth it. It almost reminds me of K.L. Cook's The Girl From Charnelle, w I'm going to start by telling you that this book is a little over 400 pages so it's no joke. Secondly, so much of it could be taken out and the story would not suffer. Just, it's a public plea from me to authors- just stop it. You can stop adding all of this fluff, none of us want the fluff. It doesn't add to your story, it makes a person want to put it down. But don't put this one down, read through the fluff, because it's worth it. It almost reminds me of K.L. Cook's The Girl From Charnelle, which is a book I absolutely adore and I think about it often. Whistling Women centers around two main characters, Rumor and her aunt Addie. Addie, upon the death of her parents, finds herself in an orphan asylum, but once her sister Wavey is able, she brings Addie to live with her and her new husband, Ty and they have a baby on the way. You don't find out until almost the end, but something pretty horrific happens between Wavey, Ty, and Addie and it sends Addie to lose her way in life and she finds herself spending most of her adulthood on a nudist colony, which is properly sinful back in those times. Addie finds herself in San Diego, where Wavey lives, and she knows her time is almost up at the nudist colony because she's getting older, and she wants desperately to reconnect with her sister. Rumor and her older sister Mary live with their mother, Wavey. Wavey hasn't done so well either, she's gone through two husbands and currently has a rotating door of boyfriends and comes home drunk too often for Rumor's liking. Inadvertently, Rumor discovers Addie is her aunt and that's how the snowball towards a really great conclusion starts. I really enjoyed this book. I tell you though, the first half is boring. Absolutely boring. I almost gave it up but then I really wanted to know- what could Addie have done to warrant her sister abandoning her? The other things I wish were stronger: Mary, she could have been a much bigger player. She's featured heavily through the book but she doesn't really do much and she should. Also, Ruby? Ruby is a brief character where if you aren't paying attention, you'll miss it- but her connection to Papa Jack and his upset the last time he sees Mary and Rumor during the day- did something happen with Ruby? It's kind of a point in the plot that was maybe going to be more, then decided against and instead of scratching it all together they muted it a bit, if that makes sense? Commit to it or don't at all, it's confusing otherwise. Overall? I really enjoyed this book, a solid 4/5 stars for sure.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (I received an ARC of this novel from Net Galley.) The premise of this book was interesting, but it just took too long to get going. Reading on my Kindle, I was over 40% through before something happened. Up until that point, I was plagued by feelings of "will they, won't they" and I knew that two of the characters who were destined to meet would meet at some point, so it was neither suspenseful nor enjoyable to feel like so much time was wasted with unnecessary rising action. One thing that was d (I received an ARC of this novel from Net Galley.) The premise of this book was interesting, but it just took too long to get going. Reading on my Kindle, I was over 40% through before something happened. Up until that point, I was plagued by feelings of "will they, won't they" and I knew that two of the characters who were destined to meet would meet at some point, so it was neither suspenseful nor enjoyable to feel like so much time was wasted with unnecessary rising action. One thing that was disappointing was that, in a story about family secrets and redemption, the redemption feels gotten too easily because the full truth is never revealed. We don't know what happens to some of the characters (like Sal)--it's as if they're just forgotten.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Folk

    I was given an advanced copy of this book and asked for a review. I literally "fell" into the story. As a native Californian I felt drawn into the time period, and felt empathy for the characters right away. Loved hearing about the worlds fair and what goes on behind the scenes to an event like this. I story line was rich and I couldn't wait to turn the page to see where it would take me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    Ugh. Depressing, weird storyline. Everything just got sadder and darker as the story progressed. Upset I put the time into this one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kelsi H

    Please check out all of my reviews at http://ultraviolentlit.blogspot.ca! Set during the 1935 World’s Fair in San Diego, Whistling Women is the story of sisters, Addie and Wavey – two strong, independent women who were driven apart by a crime from their past. For the previous fifteen years, Addie has been hiding from her role in the crime, in the Happy Valley Nudist Colony. Now, the nudists are travelling to the World’s Fair as an exhibit, and Addie is forced to face her past. While the nudist col Please check out all of my reviews at http://ultraviolentlit.blogspot.ca! Set during the 1935 World’s Fair in San Diego, Whistling Women is the story of sisters, Addie and Wavey – two strong, independent women who were driven apart by a crime from their past. For the previous fifteen years, Addie has been hiding from her role in the crime, in the Happy Valley Nudist Colony. Now, the nudists are travelling to the World’s Fair as an exhibit, and Addie is forced to face her past. While the nudist colony and World’s Fair were both historically interesting, it was really the relationship between the sisters that made this story meaningful. Addie is forced to reunite not only with Wavey, but also with Wavey’s daughters, Rumor and Mary. The parallels between the two sets of sisters are strong, and Rumor is much like her aunt Addie, although even more compelling as a character. While Wavey and Mary are content with the status quo, Rumor is bold and brave – and not afraid to expose the truth. The nudists are exhibited in the “Garden of Eden”, a safe haven where they are protected from the crowds. It is representative of their supposed innocence, yet highly sexualized. Outside of the garden, Addie knows she is far from innocent – she committed an act in her past that changed the course of all of their lives, and she is still paying for it. Religion and redemption are explored in various ways throughout the novel – the girls attend a different church every Sunday, more concerned with their own spiritual beliefs than which kind of church they happen to be at. Meanwhile, Addie seeks forgiveness from Sister Aimee, who rejects her desire to serve the church. The various characters also question the nature of sin, and whether it is dependent on motive. I enjoyed the writing style, and would read more from Kelly Romo. The setting was intriguing, and the details of the World’s Fair were fun to read. However, I did have problems with the uneven character development, as well as several issues with the plot. So many bad things happened to this one family, and in the end it was just too neatly tied together. It was all very convenient, except for some major loose ends that were just left hanging. There was just too much packed into the final pages, without bringing all the storylines together, and it probably could have been pared down to a simpler, cleaner story. Even so, it was a fun, enjoyable read. I received this novel from Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    MsArdychan

    Whistling Women is a powerful book. It is the story of two sets of sisters Wavey and Addie, and later Wavey's daughters Mary and Rumor. Spanning from the Influenza epidemic of 1918 to the World's Fair in 1935, this is a gripping drama of love, sacrifice, and self-awareness. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I love a book that really takes the time to describe the setting and mood of an era. The sights and sounds of what a world's fair might be like come alive on the page. One can t Whistling Women is a powerful book. It is the story of two sets of sisters Wavey and Addie, and later Wavey's daughters Mary and Rumor. Spanning from the Influenza epidemic of 1918 to the World's Fair in 1935, this is a gripping drama of love, sacrifice, and self-awareness. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I love a book that really takes the time to describe the setting and mood of an era. The sights and sounds of what a world's fair might be like come alive on the page. One can tell that the author has lived in San Diego by how easily the reader can picture the settings based on her descriptions. While some of the sentiments of the book are not politically correct for this day and age, they are representative of the era presented. I was very moved by the relationships in the book. Addie and Wavey have a heartbreaking estrangement that leaves both women seeking different ways to cope. Addie seeks seclusion in a nudist colony. No one asks about her past and all are accepting of who she is at the moment. Addie has pretty much kept to herself, never allowing anyone to get really close to her. Wavey goes the opposite direction and seeks out men to help her forget her missteps in life. Her nightly wanderings are off-putting for her daughters. Mary and Rumor are as close as sisters can be, but while Mary is content to follow the rules, Rumor is always questioning them. This exasperates Mary to no end. But, even when Rumor goes against her mother's wishes and tries to have an relationship with her aunt Addie, Mary is unwavering in her loyalty to her sister. There are some very disturbing scenes in the book involving assault. This could be a trigger for some readers, so please be mindful of this. Although it was difficult to read, these scenes were handled well by the author. This is not a morality play where everything gets neatly resolved at the end. While some may find this disappointing, I found it to be realistic and therefore, appropriate. I don't want to spoil any plot points so I will not get into it, but the books gets the reactions of the people correct for that time. If you can handle the violence in this book, you will be rewarded with the strong emotional journey these sisters experience. It is a reminder of a different time for women where we were often dependent on men which limited our choices.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Judy Collins

    A special thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Kelly Romo delivers an emotional debut of two estranged sisters, WHISTLING WOMEN, complex relationships, choices, forgiveness, sacrifices, consequences, and family--in an era when women had limited choices. The novel opens in 1935 in Northern California at the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony where Addie is living. Providing a safe haven for her to hide from a crime. Addie has read the letter so ma A special thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Kelly Romo delivers an emotional debut of two estranged sisters, WHISTLING WOMEN, complex relationships, choices, forgiveness, sacrifices, consequences, and family--in an era when women had limited choices. The novel opens in 1935 in Northern California at the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony where Addie is living. Providing a safe haven for her to hide from a crime. Addie has read the letter so many times- a letter from her sister, Wavey. Now the residents are packing up to go on an exhibit at the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego. Her niece Rumor wants to meet her aunt and bring their family together; however, to do so, the women will have to face their past in order to move forward. Sometimes there is a need for cracks in order for the light to get in. When the parents die, Addie is sent to an orphan asylum. Later Wavey wants her to come and live with her family. Something happens which is the big mystery. The two sisters are separated, each taking a different turn. Addie belongs to a nudist colony; single, no children. Wavey has two daughters, Mary and Rumor. Told thought the voices of Addie and Rumor, Whistling Women is an exploration into the values of family and sacrifices. Complex relationships between sisters and the power of love. Mary/Rumor and Addie/Wavey. Secrets bind and at the same time tear apart families. A little slow at times; however, enjoyed the nudist colony intertwined with the Biblical, sin and wickedness, wit and history of the era. "A whistling woman and a crowing hen never come to a very good end…or so the saying goes." Some think it means that these are traditionally considered unnatural and improper activities for females, and that females who perform them are unnatural and ill-omened. Everyone has their own interpretation. There are a couple of interpretations for the saying itself --I like this one: "Be who you’re meant to be. In other words, march to your own beat or drummer. Rather than worrying what other people think of you—Live life as you see fit for YOU."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    I am a sucker for a book with good characters. I love to read about lives, people, the way their minds work, their history and the way they function in the world... whatever world they may be in. I have read so many books about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, that as I read Whistling Women by Kelly Romo, I kept wanting to place it in Chicago. Not because its setting is unclear (1935 World’s Fair) or because the location wasn’t well-established (San Francisco) but because the characters she has cre I am a sucker for a book with good characters. I love to read about lives, people, the way their minds work, their history and the way they function in the world... whatever world they may be in. I have read so many books about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, that as I read Whistling Women by Kelly Romo, I kept wanting to place it in Chicago. Not because its setting is unclear (1935 World’s Fair) or because the location wasn’t well-established (San Francisco) but because the characters she has created are so real, relatable and well-defined that they feel like they could be in any place, and in any time. Addie Bates ran from her own bad decisions and landed in a nudist colony where she found a family, and a shelter from her past. Her niece, fifteen-year-old Rumor, is completely sure of the world and her own place in it, so when she begins to realize it isn’t what she thought and the world starts to change beneath her feet, she is determined to make sense of it. As the story alternates between these two women in the beginning of the novel the reader is a bit unsteady themselves. Eventually, though, as secrets are revealed to reader and characters alike, it all begins to make sense, eventually coming together in a heartbreakingly beautiful climax. There were places where this novel could have been sped up. The tension and excitement, so much of it crammed into the final few chapters, gets lost in pages of Rumor’s emotions and struggle. I would love to have spent more time with Addie, and a little less with Rumor perhaps. But the character development alone makes this debut novelist one I’ll be keeping an eye on in the future! http://imaginekatrina.blogspot.com/20...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Thanks to NETGALLEY and LAKE UNION PUBLISHING for the opportunity to read and give an honest review. I really enjoyed this novel, it's the story of two sisters, who due to death of their parents, Wavey is sent to live with an aunt and uncle, and Addie who is sent to a Orphan Asylum. After some time Wavey marries and sends for Addie to come and live with her and her new husband, TY, and her new baby, Mary. Something horrible happens and Addie is sent away. The two sisters are separated for sev Thanks to NETGALLEY and LAKE UNION PUBLISHING for the opportunity to read and give an honest review. I really enjoyed this novel, it's the story of two sisters, who due to death of their parents, Wavey is sent to live with an aunt and uncle, and Addie who is sent to a Orphan Asylum. After some time Wavey marries and sends for Addie to come and live with her and her new husband, TY, and her new baby, Mary. Something horrible happens and Addie is sent away. The two sisters are separated for several years, both of them taking different routes in there lives, Addie belongs to a nudist colony, she stays single with no children. Wavey has two daughters, Mary and Rumor. Addie comes to town, and Mary and Rumor find out they have an aunt, Rumor wants to have a relationship with her aunt, however her mother refuses to allow this. Rumor continues to push and push for a relationship. There are many secrets between the sisters. This novel is about self preservation, family, even families that are not blood related, its about love, but mostly its about forgiveness, and moving on. The writing was good, I did think sometimes the story dragged a bit, but then it would pick back up, the characters were likeable, I like the World Fair era, although I had no idea nudist colonies about nudist colonies. Thank you again to NETGALLEY and LAKE UNION PUBLISHING.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Raven Haired Girl

    Visit Raven Haired Girl for more reviews & giveaways I really loved the characters Romo created. Rumor was my favorite, her curiosity, smarts and stubbornness was entertaining. Addie was as enjoyable as well, her history affecting. Every character served a role with purpose in such a weighty narrative addressing serious subject matter. Daisy and Mary balance out the cast, Sal too. Papa Jack felt unfinished, his presence was powerful but dismissed far too easily. The narrative was clever, appreciat Visit Raven Haired Girl for more reviews & giveaways I really loved the characters Romo created. Rumor was my favorite, her curiosity, smarts and stubbornness was entertaining. Addie was as enjoyable as well, her history affecting. Every character served a role with purpose in such a weighty narrative addressing serious subject matter. Daisy and Mary balance out the cast, Sal too. Papa Jack felt unfinished, his presence was powerful but dismissed far too easily. The narrative was clever, appreciate the fact Romo dug into history and went with the Zoro Garden Nudist Colony, very original, nice touch in the historical fiction genre. The secrets were plenty, intense, however, I felt after the secrets were disclosed the plot weakened along with the ending. Romo took the easy route and speedily wrapped everything nice and neat which is not surprising given her neophyte status. Nothing wrong with Romo’s portrayal, it just wasn’t my preference or to my expectations, too many loose ends with no real solid valid resolution. Also the plot dragged, it took quite a while to reach the apex, I prefer a faster plot sans unnecessary details merely filling space. Romo is an authoress I will read more of, fabulous debut, lovely creative eye. Definitely looking forward to her next project.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Whistling Women by Kelly Romo is an interesting look into the lives of two women, one on the cusp of adulthood and one who is trying to find forgiveness for her past when she was the same age. Addie is a member of a nudist colony going to San Diego for an exhibit at the World's Fair. Rumor, the niece she doesn't know she has, is also in San Diego living with her mother and old sister Mary. As their lives begin to intertwine, they discover that the secrets of the past still have consequences, esp Whistling Women by Kelly Romo is an interesting look into the lives of two women, one on the cusp of adulthood and one who is trying to find forgiveness for her past when she was the same age. Addie is a member of a nudist colony going to San Diego for an exhibit at the World's Fair. Rumor, the niece she doesn't know she has, is also in San Diego living with her mother and old sister Mary. As their lives begin to intertwine, they discover that the secrets of the past still have consequences, especially when they are kept hidden. I enjoyed reading this book because the author made sure that the characters and their lives were true to the time and place of the book (San Diego, 1935). Although I think many people who be shocked about a nudist colony in 1935, it serves as a reminder of Addie and Wavey's constant battle with trying to feel free from the past while still trying to stay secretive. If readers can stick with it through a relatively slow first half, the second half of the book is well worth the wait.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Megan Tiscareno

    This story had huge potential, but it was incredibly slow moving. It tells the story of Addie, a nudist who is reaching the age where she needs to leave the nudist colony and she is contemplating what to do about her estranged family. I adore reading historical fiction and I thought the World's Fair backdrop was sure to be exciting, however, I just did not enjoy the pace of the novel. The story is told in alternating points of view, but it took until about halfway through the novel for any confl This story had huge potential, but it was incredibly slow moving. It tells the story of Addie, a nudist who is reaching the age where she needs to leave the nudist colony and she is contemplating what to do about her estranged family. I adore reading historical fiction and I thought the World's Fair backdrop was sure to be exciting, however, I just did not enjoy the pace of the novel. The story is told in alternating points of view, but it took until about halfway through the novel for any conflict to even be hinted at, and from there, it took until 80% for the entire story to really be crammed into the pages. Then I really had a lot of unanswered questions and just... general displeasure. The story itself was well written and the character Addie was really well developed, the rest of the characters, not so much.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Beyers

    I always like a story about an original topic, so I was really happy when I got a copy from the publisher. 1935, a nudist colony, a world fair in San Diego, all things new to me. It was easy to get into the story and when the author introduced domestic violence and a bit of mystery it became even more interesting.Both Addie and her niece Rumor are original and ahead of their time, since neither one of them really cares about how society perceives them. The importance of family, but also the thin I always like a story about an original topic, so I was really happy when I got a copy from the publisher. 1935, a nudist colony, a world fair in San Diego, all things new to me. It was easy to get into the story and when the author introduced domestic violence and a bit of mystery it became even more interesting.Both Addie and her niece Rumor are original and ahead of their time, since neither one of them really cares about how society perceives them. The importance of family, but also the things that can happen within a family to destroy faith and trust, all of this is also central to the story. I am glad he story ended on an optimistic note, and I would recommend this book to those who like an interesting read that is a bit different.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paula Schumm

    Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an advance download of Whistling Women by Kelly Romo. Whistling Women is set in San Diego at the 1935 World's Fair. Addie is part of the side show nudist colony, and she is nervous to be back home after all these years. Addie seeks out her sister Wavey so that Addie can ask forgiveness for that horrible thing that separated them long ago. Addie gets to know Wavey's daughters Mary and Rumor. When wild child Rumor disappears, the family is brought Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an advance download of Whistling Women by Kelly Romo. Whistling Women is set in San Diego at the 1935 World's Fair. Addie is part of the side show nudist colony, and she is nervous to be back home after all these years. Addie seeks out her sister Wavey so that Addie can ask forgiveness for that horrible thing that separated them long ago. Addie gets to know Wavey's daughters Mary and Rumor. When wild child Rumor disappears, the family is brought together as the truth comes out. Recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kat Ayres

    I received this as a free e-book in exchange for review from Netgalley.. Wow. Well, first off, this book was a roller coaster. It kept me drawn in from the very beginning. The characters are multidimensional and very much have their own voices. I plan to buy this book as soon as its released. Id enjoy reading it again and again, as I have the feeling that if I read it again Id find something new that I missed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Franny Burd

    An interesting read set at the World's Fair in the 1930's. This is the story of Addie, a young woman who was orphaned at the age of 8. She eventually makes her way to a nudist colony, where she spends fifteen years of her life. The colony has now come to be one of the exhibits at the World's Fair, in the same town where Addie's sister and two nieces live. Told in flashbacks to twenty years earlier, we learn why Addie's sister will have nothing to do with her. I enjoyed this one!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sherri Lewis

    *** I received an advanced e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion This is a story of two sisters, Addie and Wavey, and as the story alternates between past and present you discover not only what tore them apart but also what would bring them together again. Beautifully written, enjoyable characters and a captivating storyline make this a great read. I definitely look forward to reading much more from this author.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    Addie was one interesting character. Loved the dynamics between Addie & Wavey, and Addie & Rumor. Love the inclusion of the Worlds' Fair in San Diego. And the nudist colony aspect! Both Addie & Rumor are strong women - in the 1930's. And the suspense of knowing what drove Addie & Wavey apart will keep you hooked! Great read! Thanks Netgalley & Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for my honest review Addie was one interesting character. Loved the dynamics between Addie & Wavey, and Addie & Rumor. Love the inclusion of the Worlds' Fair in San Diego. And the nudist colony aspect! Both Addie & Rumor are strong women - in the 1930's. And the suspense of knowing what drove Addie & Wavey apart will keep you hooked! Great read! Thanks Netgalley & Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for my honest review

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Decent enough mystery that, had it been written better, would have made this novel worthwhile. In its current state all it did was hold my interest enough to finish the book. The whole thing felt very cheesy, very superficial. The characters were trite and predictable, and even the main characters were never fully developed. Overall very disappointing. And some mature, depressing topics are covered in this book such as rape.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I loved this book. The story about the struggles of the strong female characters was so believable. From the first page to the last I became engrossed in Rumor, Mary, Addie and Wavey' s lives. You want them to heal and become successful- especially as a family. I will definitely recommend this book and will be on the lookout for more from this author. One of my top ten books of all time!

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