Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut by J.L. Michael

Posted October 24, 2022 by elzaread in Book Review / 2 Comments

Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut by J.L. MichaelMissteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut by J.L. Michael
Published by Swanky Owl Press on August 21st, 2022
Pages: 372
Format: ARC
Source: Reedsy Discovery
Buy on Amazon

It is 1927. An “Era of Wonderful Nonsense.” Vague maps tout grand mysteries, each snapshot means something, and jazzy hijinks abound. Insouciant vagabond ALEXANDRA ILLYRIA BATHENBROOK sets off from Montana to capture images never photographed, hoping to earn an interview with National Geographic.

Operating from her London office, she will flirt with becoming a royal mistress, reunite lustful ghosts at notorious Borley Rectory, and stir up mischief at the Winter Olympics in ritzy St. Moritz. Those are the easy ones.

More perilous assignments send Alexandra in pursuit of a thrill killer through the dusty alleyways of Marrakech and into the feral bushlands of Uganda to join a hunt for man-eating lions. While seeking a famed explorer in Amazonia, she must face down her inner demons in a desperate bid for survival.

Along her brazen journey, she will outwit, outcharm, and outbrave detractors and rapscallions… even romance a few. Yet most telling, Alexandra will find her best self in rekindling hope within her war-scarred brother and uncovering the scandalous reason she’s forever lost among the fallen.

-A most offbeat Historical Adventure

Alexandra Illyria Bathenbrook is no ordinary girl, no matter in what era you would place her. In the 1920’s, she was most definitely close to extraordinary. How I wish Alexandra was a real historical figure! What an enjoyable read this was on a very funny and intriguing character. But no, Alexandra was nothing but a product of the author’s overindulgent imagination. Placing Alexandra in actual events, settings and with real historical characters, does make the reader constantly start a Google search to spot Alexandra somewhere in recorded events.

The 1920’s was a time of adventure, new discoveries and believing that you can be who or whatever you want to be. Even young women were starting to have that belief. As an aspiring photographer, novice ornithologist and fledgling explorer, Alexandra was well-rehearsed in stirring misadventure.

“Occasionally, the only unpalatable difference between adventure and misadventure is eating exotic foods as opposed to being exotic food.”

Being the youngest daughter of Archibald Bathenbrook a well-known geologist for the British Colonial Office, Alexandra is constantly looking for adventures as a refuge from her everyday life.

From escaping to be served as plat du jour to enjoying plat du jour with a few well-known characters from the late 1920’s, Alexandra can be described as anything but dull. I loved the author’s description of his lead character: “Alexandra was beyond brilliant, yet failed in everything.” “Alexandra was physically fit, yet athletically clumsy.”

Although she might appear as a bit of a flapper (which she is, not doubt about that), Alexandra does have high dreams and aspirations. She longs to follow in the footsteps of Eliza Scidmore and become a contributing member of the National Geographic Society. People love pictorials with the stories they read, and who better to tell stories than a feisty, beautiful young woman who goes on the craziest adventures.  Alexandra does after all plan to travel the world and take photographs of things never seen before. She even plans on terming all her adventures as “adventure photography.”

Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut is a fun-filled adventure from beginning to end. Although it’s definitely light reading and should be regarded us such, some readers might find some content offensive or disturbing.

Thank you to Reedsy Discovery for providing us with a copy of this book and for the opportunity to read and review.

About the Author

J.L. Michael is a Maine author partial to old-school jazz, vintage travel posters, and historical literature that champions daring quests into realms unknown. The majority of the author’s time is spent pursuing the honor code of an impossible dreamer, which includes acting as an able Healthcare Director, committed spouse, and steadfast (though imperfect) role-model to an eight-year-old best-thing-ever. When not thrashing away on a keyboard, J.L. can be found lounging beachside atop the hood of a Jeep Wrangler, contemplating a next escape to distant exotic lands or plotting further misadventures to include in the sequel to the just released novel… Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut.

Missteps Perfecting the Shutterbug Strut is available at Reedsy.com or at Amazon.

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