In 1941, four friends from a small town in upstate New York traveled to New York City in search of stardom. What they found was beyond anything they’d ever imagined. Among the many denizens of the city they came across, the gay culture was to them the most alien. Alice Huffman, an aspiring actress, is at first repulsed by the alternative life style, but she meets the alluring Juliana, a singer who is also lesbian, and the two soon develop a relationship. Alice balances these two worlds for a time, but they soon collide, and she finds herself torn between what she has been taught and what she feels.
Juliana is an interesting coming-of-age type novel, set in a fascinating time in US history, and replete with actual historical references and colorful narrative, it chronicles the torturous path young people must tread in a society that accords treatment to people based upon labels and bias, against a backdrop of World War II.
Through the eyes and emotions of one main character, the reader gets a sense of the era and its judgmental attitudes—amazingly similar to attitudes that exist in some groups down to the present day. You get to know and empathize with the characters, and hopefully come away from reading this book with a more open mind.
I received a free copy of this book. I give it four stars.