Patty Jane’s House of Curl by Lorna Landvik


Historical Fiction

Patty Jane's House of Curl Patty Jane’s House of CurlLorna Landvik; Ivy Books 1999WorldCat

Patty Jane and her sister Harriet had grown up with alcoholic parents. They were glad to escape while they were young. Now it is 1953 and Patty Jane gets married to Thor Rolvaag, a man who looks like a Norse god. Nine months later, days before their baby is born, Thor walks out of Patty Jane’s life, not telling her we wasn’t returning.

Thor’s mother, Ione, moves in with Patty Jane and the baby girl, Nora. Harriet also moves in with them until her marriage in June to one of the richest men in Minneapolis. Now the women must move forward without Thor. Patty Jane and her mother-in-law become very close. Patty Jane becomes a beautician and opens her own beauty parlor. Harriet plays the harp and has dance breaks at the salon. Ione keeps marvellous pastries and food available for the customers.

The House of Curl is only the background for the story of Patty Jane’s and Harriet’s lives. They overcome their obstacles, sometimes giving in, sometimes losing. Yet overall these strong women make a good lives for themselves. Patty Jane isn’t content with only having a beauty salon. She wants a place that will help other women grow and expand in their lives.

This book definitely comes under the heading “chick lit” – and it’s great for its genre. Although the reader is able to predict many of the outcomes to the womens’ lives, it’s the process of getting there that is charming. These three women are buffeted by life. Yet they strive ahead, rising above the troubles that invade their lives. Patty Jane’s House of Curl is a book that will make you chuckle or cry. Although set in the 1950’s and 60’s Minnesota, the background shapes the story but doesn’t strongly impact it. Patty Jane becomes the independent woman that will be seen more commonly in another 20 or 30 years.

This is a heart warming novel. The tone throughout Patty Jane’s House of Curl is upbeat and positive. We watch the three women grow in themselves and in their relationships. The interaction between the three of them and later Nora as she grows gives satisfaction to the reader.

Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations

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