My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A powerful novel about a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas--and finds unexpected fortune, friendship, and love.
It was unimaginable. When she was eight years old, Lily Decker somehow survived the auto accident that killed her parents and sister, but neither her emotionally distant aunt nor her all-too-attentive uncle could ease her grief. Dancing proves to be Lily's only solace, and eventually she receives a "scholarship" to a local dance academy--courtesy of a mysterious benefactor.
Grown and ready to leave home for good, Lily changes her name to Ruby Wilde and heads to Las Vegas to be a troupe dancer, but her sensual beauty and voluptuous figure land her work instead as a showgirl performing everywhere from Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana to the Stardust's Lido de Paris. Wearing costumes dripping with feathers and rhinestones, five-inch heels, and sky-high headdresses, Ruby may have all the looks of a Sin City success story, but she still must learn to navigate the world of men--and figure out what real love looks like.
With her uncanny knack for understanding the hidden lives of women, Elizabeth J. Church captures both the iconic extravagance of an era and the bravery of a young woman who dances through her sadness to find connection, freedom, and, most important, herself.
In the story so do we get to follow Lily Decker/Ruby Wilde from that she is a young girl, growing up with her aunt and uncle after her parents have died, to her life as a showgirl. Her childhood was not the happiest, her uncle molested her and her aunt hardly showed Lily any love. Interesting enough was the man that was involved in the accident that killed her parents the one person that she could turn to if needed. She dreams of becoming a troupe dancer, but in Las Vegas is she told that she will never have a career as a troupe dancer, her future lies instead in being a showgirl and that she excels in, but with the new life comes new problems...
All the Beautiful Girls is one of those books that really got to me. I loved following Lily/Ruby through her childhood and life as a showgirl. I was totally immersed in the story and I really, really came to like Lily. I felt so connected to her that when she got involved with the wrong man did I want to tell her (over and over again) to leave him, he's bad news. Alas, I couldn't do that, instead, I had to suffer through that relationship. At least something good came out of it, which I won't tell.
Read it, or listen to it, do whatever you feel best, but go for this book if you have the chance!