RIGHT BACK WHERE WE STARTED FROM
BY JOY LANZENDORFER
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Paperback; eBook, & Audiobook
Genre: Historical Fiction
If misfortune hadn’t gotten in the way, Sandra Sanborn would be where she belongs–among the rich and privileged instead of standing outside a Hollywood studio wearing a sandwich board in the hope of someone discovering her. It’s tough breaking into the movies during the Great Depression, but Sandra knows that she’s destined for greatness. After all, her grandmother Vira crossed the country during the Gold Rush and established the Sanborns as one of San Francisco’s most prominent families, and her mother Mabel grew up in a lavish mansion and married into an agricultural empire. Success, Sandra feels, is in her blood. She just needs a chance to prove it.
In between failed auditions, Sandra receives a letter from a man claiming to be her father, which calls into question everything she believes about her family–and herself. As she tries to climb the social ladder, family secrets lurk in the background, pulling her down. Until Sandra confronts the truth about how Vira and Mabel gained and lost their fortunes, she will always end up right back where she started from.
Right Back Where We Started From is a sweeping, multigenerational work of fiction that explores the lust for ambition that entered into the American consciousness during the Gold Rush and how it affected our nation’s ideas of success, failure, and the pursuit of happiness. It is a meticulously layered saga–at once historically rich, romantic, and suspenseful–about three determined and completely unforgettable women.
AMAZON | B&N | BAM | INDIEBOUND | HUDSON’S BOOKSELLERS
“In Right Back Where We Started From Joy Lanzendorfer has crafted a terrific first novel, one brimming with energy, wit, and emotional resonance. Sandra Sanborn is a wonderful character, very much alive on the page. And, the novel captures, vividly, some of the crazier times in California’s crazy history. Highly recommended!” –Peter Orner, author of Maggie Brown & Others
“Joy Lanzendorfer’s thrill of a novel, Right Back Where We Started From, tells the story of an engaging young woman, eager to be discovered in 1930s Hollywood. But as she looks to the future, a letter from a man who claims to be her father pulls her to the unknown past. This is a novel of California dreaming, from the Gold Rush to the Hollywood Hills. Lanzendorfer writes with charm, style, and great energy.” –Ellen Sussman, New York Times bestselling author of four novels: A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French Lessons, and On a Night like This
“From the California Gold Rush to the San Francisco earthquake, through the Great Depression and World War II, Joy Lanzendorfer artfully weaves a beautifully textured saga. Yearnings, secrets, and shame shape the lives of three generations of American women as they dare to question the rigid societal expectations that confine them to proscribed roles and stifle ambition. Gripping prose and complex and memorable characters make this shining debut novel a pleasure to read.” –Liza Nash Taylor, author of Etiquette for Runaways and the forthcoming In All Good Faith
Right Back Where We Started From by Joy Lanzendorfer is a well-written, multi-generaltional, historical fiction. It’s set in the mid-19th century through WWII in America.
I’ve been enjoying historical fiction quite a bit lately, and books like this are part of the reason why. I enjoy family sagas that span over time like this. The characters are well-developed and feel realistic, which makes the book easy to engage with and get lost in.
This is not told in a linear fashion. I really enjoyed switching between the time periods. I feel this author handled these switches with ease and I never felt lost. It kept me guessing through the secrets and how everything is connected.
I enjoyed Right Back Where We Started From and would recommend giving it a shot if you enjoy family sagas and historical fiction.
Thank you to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to be on this blog tour. I received a free copy of this book to review honestly. All opinions are my own and unbiased.
About the Author
Joy Lanzendorfer’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, NPR, Smithsonian, Poetry Foundation, and many others. She was included in The Best Small Fictions anthology and was a notable in The Best American Essays 2019. She has been awarded grants and residencies from the Discovered Awards for Emerging Literary Artists, Wildacres Residency Program, and the Speculative Literature Foundation.
Enter to win a copy of Right Back Where We Started From by Joy Lanzendorfer!
The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Blog Tour Schedule
Wednesday, May 5
Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Thursday, May 6
Review at Crystal’s Library
Saturday, May 8
Review at Reading is My Remedy
Sunday, May 9
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Monday, May 10
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews
Tuesday, May 11
Excerpt at Books, Ramblings, and Tea
Wednesday, May 12
Excerpt at Bookworlder
Sunday, May 16
Interview at Reader_ceygo
Wednesday, May 19
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Thursday, May 20
Review at Jessica Belmont
Friday, May 21
Review at Nursebookie
Wednesday, May 26
Feature at Books, Cooks, Looks
Let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to interact with you. If this sounds like something you would read, let me know!