Wednesday, May 09, 2018

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

Caroline Preston, the author of The War Bride's Scrapbook, actually had an earlier book that was similar. While that book centered on World War II, The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures, was about a young woman in the twenties. As in the later book, Preston used articles and clippings to tell Frankie's story.

Frances "Frankie" Pratt graduates from high school in 1920. She was valedictorian, and always wanted to be a writer. Her mother gives her a scrapbook as a graduation present, and Frankie digs up her late father's Corona typewriter. Although she was accepted at Vassar on a scholarship, Frankie knows she'll still have expenses, so decides to save to get a nursing license. But, while she's home, she's attracted to a returning vet, Captain James Pingree. Once her mother finds out about their escapades, she finds a way for Frankie to go to Vassar.

While the book covers Frankie's college years, it's the following years that are more fascinating. After graduation, Frankie heads to New York, hoping to land a job with a magazine. When a romantic friendship goes wrong, she heads to Paris. It's there she runs into James Pingree again. She's living the life she wanted, meeting authors and working at a magazine, until her mother's health calls her home. And, home is where Frankie finds success and a surprise.

Greenwich Village, Paris. Preston introduces both of them in clippings from the 1920s. It's a fun period for a scrapbook. I found it fun to see Shakespeare & Company, the book stalls along the Seine, Notre Dame. And, because Preston's godmother was Sylvia Beach, owner of Shakespeare & Company, she had a special connection to Paris at that time.

I would have been a little more impressed with The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt if I hadn't recently read The War Bride's Scrapbook. But, the timing was my fault, not that of the author.

Caroline Preston's website is

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston. ECCO (HarperCollins), 2011. ISBN 9780061966903 (hardcover), 240p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I remember going to Shakespeare & Company the first time we went to Paris in 1972. I realize it was not the original store, but it was still pretty cool for a Hemingway fan.

Kay said...

I've put both of these books on my list to try. My library does have copies. And I love books told in unique ways. Maybe later in the summer.

Lesa said...

Jeff, I was actually disappointed in Shakespeare & Company when I went. I know the history, but I preferred W.H. Smith. Shakespeare & Company was much too crowded, and the owner was rude to my friend, Kaye. Only in an English-speaking place was someone rude in France. The French were wonderful to us.

Lesa said...

Kay, Yes, they'd be fun books to try later in the summer.