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For fans of Orphan Train and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, a compelling historical novel from “one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal). Set against the turbulent backdrop of American Vaudeville, four sisters embark on an unexpected adventure—and a last-ditch effort to save their family.
In 1919, the Turner sisters and their parents are barely scraping by. Their father is a low-paid boot-stitcher in Johnson City, New York, and the family is always one paycheck away from eviction. When their father’s hand is crushed and he can no longer work, their irrepressible mother decides that the vaudeville stage is their best—and only—chance for survival.
Traveling by train from town to town, teenagers Gert, Winnie, and Kit, and recent widow Nell soon find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are as diverse as their acts. There is a seamier side to the business, however, and the young women face dangers and turns of fate they never could have anticipated. Heartwarming and surprising, The Tumbling Turner Sisters is ultimately a story of awakening—to unexpected possibilities, to love and heartbreak, and to the dawn of a new American era.
About the Author
Juliette Fay is the bestselling author of five novels, including the USA TODAY bestseller The Tumbling Turner Sisters. A graduate of Boston College and Harvard University, she lives in Massachusetts. Visit her at JulietteFay.com.
“This novel of love, dreams, and the everlasting strength of family perfectly encapsulates the social mores and pressures of the early twentieth century. The Turner sisters dare to dream big--don’t miss this page turner!”
— Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants
“Filled with energetic prose and colorful characters—you won’t soon forget the Turner girls!”
— Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
“Book clubs are sure to fall for The Tumbling Turner Sisters. Through this band of charming young women—and their stage mother, of course—Juliette Fay delivers the history, mystery, and prejudice of vaudeville in a story that is ultimately about the possibility of practice making something perfect (or perfect enough, anyway), the benefits of humor and ambition, and the redemptive power of love."
— Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Race for Paris
"Lovable, memorable characters propel this heartwarming story, which makes you laugh while it makes you think, then sticks with you long after the last vibrant page is savored."
— Lynn Cullen, bestselling author of Twain's End and Mrs. Poe
"The Turner sisters come tumbling out of this terrific story, full of life, passion and trouble. Forced into a life in vaudeville, the four young girls and their mother push the boundaries of propriety to achieve their dreams in a world that doesn’t often allow women to have dreams. Gert and Winnie shine as each, in her own way, fights for her right to be who she is. A great piece of historical fiction that rings true one hundred years later."
— B.A. Shapiro, NYT bestselling author of The Muralist and The Art Forger
"Evoking the entrepreneurial, madcap era of vaudeville, Juliette Fay immerses us in the trials, joys, and dangers of three young women, whose bid for success is as uproarious and heartbreaking as the time in which they lived."
— C.W. Gortner, bestselling author of Mademoiselle Chanel
“The Tumbling Turner Sisters explores vaudeville with stunning humanity and sharp humor. Juliette Fay’s novel of sisters forced by their ultimate stage mother into this show business world of fanciful facade hiding cutthroat innards reveals America—from Jim Crow laws to skirting prohibition. Like Little Women, these four sisters, facing loss and poverty, reveal a family with an unbreakable core of fortitude and love.”
— Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of Accidents of Marriage
"As colorful as its vaudeville setting, The Tumbling Turner Sisters made me laugh, cry, and clap my hands with delight as I cheered on these four lovable and spunky sisters. A big-hearted tale of adventure."
— Ann Mah, author of Mastering the Art of French Eating
"Packed with lively characters and charming detail, Juliette Fay's thoughtful prose sheds light on an almost forgotten part of entertainment history."
— Allie Larkin, bestselling author of Stay and Why I Can't Be You
“The Tumbling Turner Sisters takes you on a wild ride through the glory days of vaudeville, following Winnie and Gert as they hit the gritty floorboards of backwater theaters, pick themselves up, and strive again toward laughter-filled heights. The prose is riveting as the sisters carry their family out of poverty in a time of racially charged political turmoil. Through Juliette Fay’s multilayered characters, I feel the sisters’ entanglements and passions as if they were my own.”
— E. B. Moore, author of An Unseemly Wife and Stones in the Road
“An absorbing and heartfelt tale of four sisters in desperate contortions to keep their family aloft. I loved this slice of theatrical history, and Fay’s meticulous research brings to life the vivid playhouses and costumed performers — ingénues and divas, swindlers and sots. I stayed awake far too late wondering whether the girls would come in for a safe landing.”
— Nichole Bernier, author of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.