Book Review: A Snug Life Somewhere by Jan Shapin

A Snug Life Somewheretlc logo
Title: A Snug Life Somewhere written by Jan Shapin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by Cambridge Books
Page count: 286
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre. Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe. When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, she is pulled into Gabe as campaign to avenge the Everett Martyrs.She follows Gabe to Mexico (where they live in a household of Bolsheviks bent on smuggling jewels), then to Chicago (where she rediscovers Marcel, steals a Faberge egg and escapes from Gabe). Then a second event intervenes at the Seattle General Strike of 1919. Penny Joe returns to Seattle to confront Gabe and meets up with a mysterious stranger who turns out to be J. Edgar Hoover. Should she give the Faberge egg to Hoover as evidence against Gabe or just disappear and start a new life? Is she ever going to reunite with her lost love, Marcel? (Goodreads)

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Snug Life Somewhere by Jan Shapin. I’d like to thank both Jan Shapin and TLC Blog Tours for providing a copy of A Snug Life Somewhere in exchange for an honest review and also for just letting me be a part of the tour!!

A Snug Life Somewhere is a work of historical fiction, a genre that I don’t have a lot of experience reading  but have committed to reading a lot more of this year so I jumped at the chance to read and review this book. It was a very different reader experience for me, but in a good way. I started off not quite sure whether  I was going to like this book, 1) because I am unsure of whether I like historical fiction and 2) because I found it a little hard to get into the book at first. Once I did get into though, I ended up just loving it.

It reads like a memoir and I absolutely loved that. It was like catching these intimate moments of a persons life and witnessing their deepest thoughts. I appreciated the fact that although this book is a work of fiction, it includes some very real events and people so that was really interesting in itself. Shapin did a great job of writing in such a way that I felt like I really understood what was happening with the protests and with the politics while still keeping this a very personal account of Penny Joe’s life…a very hard thing to do but she did it exceptionally well.

I think my favorite part of this book is the development and journey of Penny Joe. When we start the story it seems like she is just lost and unsure of her place and purpose in the world. As events that she has no control start moving into her life, she just kind of gets swept up into this crazy life that she really didn’t choose for herself and was actually just exploited. I felt really bad for her but I also felt like it made her really tough. I don’t think at the beginning of the story she knew her own strength but living the life she did and coming out the side, she finally found her footing and was able to stand up for herself and become her own person.  Although I wanted her and Marcel to live happily ever after I really loved the way they end up and how impacted she was by her very first love, which I think is something you never ever forget. I loved the ending to this story…the very last lines just completely wowed me.

I gave this book a 5 out of 5 because I ended up absolutely loving this book and it was an interesting and beautifully written story. If you like historical fiction or just want to take a dive into the genre, I’d recommend picking up this book, not only will it teach you something but it will let you witness an incredible character journey.


Jan Shapin

Jan Shapin has been writing plays and screenplays for over twenty years.  More recently she has turned her attention to fiction.  She has studied playwriting at Catholic University in Washington, DC, screenwriting at the Film and Television Workshop and University of Southern California, and fiction writing at a variety of locations including Brown University, Barnard’s Writers on Writing seminar, Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.  She has two grown children and lives in North Kingstown, RI with her husband, a photographer.   She can be reached via email at  jshapin.writer@gmail.com

5 thoughts on “Book Review: A Snug Life Somewhere by Jan Shapin

  1. Thanks for a great and thoughtful review. So glad you liked Penny Joe and her plucky search for a snug life. I’m so pleased you found this a good blend of history and fiction– you’re right, getting the right balance is tricky. And I am honored by the 5 stars! Jan Shapin

    • Thanks for a great and thoughtful review. So glad you liked Penny Joe and her plucky search for a snug life. I’m so pleased you found this a good blend of history and fiction– you’re right, getting the right balance is tricky. And I am honored by the 5 stars! Jan Shapin

  2. Pingback: Jan Shapin, author of A Snug Life Somewhere, on tour February 2014 | TLC Book Tours

Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s