V is for Victorine

V is for Victorine
Age Range
Release Date
November 14, 2023
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It’s 1915, and “missing” heiress Victorine Berryman is living incognito as “Bella Mae Goodwin” with her best friend, Darleen Darling, star of the exciting photoplay serials adventure-loving audiences crave. When the girls travel cross-country to set up roots in Hollywood, California, home of the developing film industry, they find themselves mixed up in a plot as dramatic as anything on the screen, involving switched luggage, stolen artifacts, and nefarious characters hot on their tails. But the stakes are entirely too real! As brave and resourceful Victorine tries to escape the villains’ clutches, she meets a slew of early Hollywood Who’s Whos and experiences the magic of the movie business—as well as its problems, including the harmful prejudices that can be perpetuated by popular films. Can Victorine thwart the bad guys—and figure out who she truly wants to be? Filled with hijinks, humor, and heart, this edge-of-your-seat sequel to Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen will have fans both old and new cheering “Bravo!”

Editor review

1 review
Hollywood intrigue
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
Vee’s logical, honest character is wonderfully balanced by Darleen’s creative, theatrical talents to make them a charming pair. The two teenage girls are the closest of friends and can easily be imagined as sisters. Vee has a great deal of trouble lying, even lies of omission, so it’s amusing to watch how she phrases sentences in order to maintain her moral standards. The author often shares the mental struggles waged inside her head. Darleen must watch her own words lest she let Vee’s true identity slip to strangers. The whole country is enamored by a series of movies that speculate on the adventures of Vee’s life since she disappeared from her wealthy, public life due to unscrupulous characters.
The world of early film-making is explored as the girls experience the complicated issues surrounding the industry. The setting is in early-1900’s America when all of the movies were silent but still extremely popular. The book’s closing pages of this historical fiction confirm some of the characters were actual people or were based on real people. Much of the technology shared in the narrative is historically accurate too. The later parts of the book address the societal impact of movies as Vee begins to realize they can affect viewers’ knowledge and feelings toward the world. Films can give people distorted or misleading perceptions of the world so don’t filmmakers have a responsibility to be accurate in what they create? Vee struggles with this problem and her frustrations and emotions aren’t readily accepted by those involved in movie production.
The author includes two main mysteries in the plot that involve a secret that her father is sure will make the family money and items found inside another train passenger’s briefcase become a major conflict. The father’s secret is intriguing because he won’t share any information with the girls so readers are left to wonder what it might be. It supposedly has the potential to change how movies are made. The stranger’s briefcase becomes the bigger story when the girls discover three small cylinders with etchings in them. Rumors of train thieves insert ideas into readers’ minds to create nefarious scenarios. Vee and Darleen aren’t sure what to do with what they find and the problem follows them all the way to Hollywood. The truth behind the cylinders drives the plot although most of the characters find a rich woman’s plans for them a bit odd.
What didn’t work as well:
There are glimpses into what’s happened in the first book but I still feel like I want to know more. Some unscrupulous “relatives” tried to take custody of Vee and her inheritance after her grandmother passed away. This issue remerges so some additional information will help readers fully appreciate what’s going on. A quick solution is to read the first book Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen.
The final verdict:
This book is a pleasant read as readers follow the adventures of Vee and Darleen on their way to Hollywood. The mysterious cylinders become more prominent as the narrative moves along and the plot touches on the moral issues of film-making. Overall, I recommend you give this book a shot.
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