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Nothing but a Smile: A Novel by Steve Amick
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Nothing but a Smile: A Novel

by Steve Amick

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
  ewillse | Mar 23, 2014 |
  PatienceFortitude | Mar 6, 2014 |
  PatienceFortitude | Mar 6, 2014 |
  PatienceFortitude | Mar 6, 2014 |
I wanted to like this one, I was hoping for vintage charm along the lines of Water for Elephants, Carter Beats the Devil, or The Last Days of Summer. That was a pretty high hope, though, considering those are three incredibly good books (CBtD and TLDoB are definitely on my top twenty list).

Nothing But a Smile didn't live up to my hopes, but it was a fun read anyhow. It's about a woman struggling to keep her family's camera shop in the black during WWII. When business slows and the creditors start knocking, she answers a back-of-the-magazine ad for pin-up pictures, using herself as a model.

When a war buddy of her husbands, an army illustrator, returns with a purple heart and an injured hand, he uses his art theory skills to help her with the new business. It's sweet and charming and completely innocent relationship, but of course there are twists and turns along their road to success.

Nothing is a fun read with likable characters, though at times I felt the snappy, forties-era dialogue fell a bit flat. Sometimes I'd read lines a couple times to figure what was being said. I've not had this problem with other books about the era.

Still, I'm glad I picked the book up. The setting and characters are well-rendered, and the camera shop was a fun place to hang out for a weekend's read. ( )
  periwinklejane | Mar 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307377369, Hardcover)

From the author of the widely praised The Lake, the River & the Other Lake comes the delightful love story of a man and a woman who choose an unconventional way to redefine themselves during and after World War II.

It’s 1944, and Wink Dutton, a former illustrator for Yank and Stars and Stripes, has arrived in Chicago after an injury to his drawing hand gets him an unwanted discharge from the service. Renting a room above the camera shop run by Sal Chesterton–the wife of Wink’s buddy, still stationed in the Philippines–Wink is surprised to learn how Sal is making ends meet: producing pinup photos for the soldiers’ favorite girlie magazines. In fact, she’s using herself as a model. When Wink becomes a partner in her covert enterprise, it’s the beginning of a collaboration that is both wonderfully sexy and pure, one that blossoms into a subtle and unexpected romance. Their work leads to Wink’s reinvention as a photographer and, as the war ends and the business expands, to a shared understanding of the painful adjustments to be made in the rapidly changing postwar world.

Steve Amick’s grasp of Wink and Sal’s generation is remarkable, as is his fresh take on the period. The triumph of the war’s end is tempered by his deep understanding of its quiet undercurrents–the fear of not knowing what to do next, the loss of more carefree prewar selves, the sorrow of mourning soldiers recently dead when everyone else is parading in the streets. In the surprising story of Wink and Sal, Amick has created a beautifully understated love letter to an America of simpler choices that were nonetheless hard for the people who made them.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:21 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

It's 1944 and Wink Dutton, a former illustrator for Stars and Stripes, has returned to Chicago after an injury to his drawing hand gets him an unwanted discharge from the service. Renting a room in the back of the camera shop run by Sal Chesterton--the wife of one of Wink's buddies still stationed in the Philippines--Wink is surprised to learn how Sal is making ends meet: producing pinup photos for the soldiers' favorite girlie magazines. In fact, she's using herself as a model. When Wink becomes a partner in her covert enterprise, it's the beginning of an unspoken romance that manages to be both sexy and innocent--a romance that grows and deepens as the two discover in themselves and each other a kind of ingenious practicality that readies them, together, for a rapidly changing postwar world.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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