Lily Anne of San Francisco
Lily Anne O’Brien is twelve years of age when she and her parents leave Chicago for San Francisco. While the main purpose of the move is for her father’s health, Lily Anne not only falls in love with the area, but also is unaware of the events that will change her life forever. Instead of fulfilling her parents’ wishes of gaining skills to become an opera singer, Lily Anne marries a man near twice her age. The rocky marriage produces one daughter, Charlotte. But at fifteen years of age, a near death experience turns Lily Anne into an overbearing and manipulative mother. While succeeding as an entrepreneur when she opens up a hat shop, Lily Anne’s home life over the years is less than stellar. And as Charlotte grows into a beautiful woman, Lily Anne becomes more manipulative, especially when mother and daughter are interested in the same man.
Nonagenarian J.Y. Flynn scripts a fascinating story of one woman’s trials and triumphs. Based on real people and events and set during the first couple decades of the twentieth century, Flynn’s debut novel is replete with vintage nuances that reflect the quickly shifting tides into the industrial era. Great examples include switching from horse and buggy to cars, outhouses to in-home toilets, as well as the evolution of a small town atmosphere into a bustling city environment—to name just a few. Flynn also incorporates major events of the early 1900’s within her narrative, such as the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake, The Great War (World War I), and the Great Depression—again, highlighting a few examples. Yet amid all the nuances and history, chief to Flynn’s writing style is her character development and the use of engaging dialogue between her full and well-defined cast. Flynn’s fluid storyline constantly alternates between anticipated and unanticipated character scenes from one chapter to the next. Closing on a totally unexpected note, Lily Anne of San Francisco not only is bound to become a classic, but also has Silver Screen potential.
J. Y. Flynn