Frog Music

Frog Music

A Novel

Large Print - 2014
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Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman named Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny's murderer to justice -- if he doesn't track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers, and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women, and damaged children. It's the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts. (Based on a true story.)
Publisher: New York, NY : Little, Brown and Company, 2014
Edition: Large print edition, First edition
ISBN: 9780316404587
0316404586
Branch Call Number: DONOGHUE E
Donoghue, E
Characteristics: 677 pages (large print) ; 25 cm

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gchrisman
Dec 18, 2017

Truly terrible. The worst example of historical research I've read in years, relying exclusively on stereotypes and ridiculous assumptions. Plus, the characters are thoroughly flat and downright uninteresting. I didn't finish it, which is rare for me.

s
SaraPettigrew
Sep 21, 2017

I really enjoyed this one. Jenny and Blanche are both wonderful characters. For all their flaws, I still found them very likeable, and I enjoyed how the author kept peeling back layers of the onion so we found out more about them. I got used to the time frame jumping about, and thought it effective in unraveling the story.

I loved the afterword and the discovery that this story was based on real people and real events. It certainly made me want to dig in and discover more.

s
spiderfelt_0
Sep 18, 2017

I went to San Francisco this weekend with Frog Music for company. It was a great book to provide some sense of the city as I walked around. While Chinatown appears to be a caricature of itself today, it wasn't difficult to imagine the streets in 1876. Donoghue vividly paints the racial tensions and daily struggles of this time. Not really a crime novel and certainly not a mystery, but a historical drama painting a portrait of the time where crime is a part of life.

s
sanspeur
Feb 19, 2017

Though some have described this book as a whodunit or crime novel, to me it's more a historical novel. I enjoyed the setting in the rough and tumble San Fransisco of the late 1800's in the midst of a heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. But I found Blanche, the protagonist, a former French circus performer turned erotic dancer and prostitute, hard to relate to. The most intriguing character is Jenny, a free spirit who asks disconcerting questions that disrupt Blanche's unthinking existence and whose disregard of convention eventually results in her murder.

c
colettecase
Jun 06, 2016

A very interesting story, but difficult to get through. The writing style didn't really hold my attention. Paints a very vivid picture of San Francisco during that time.

h
haileyj
Nov 22, 2015

This is the second time I've tried to read this story and I just can't get interested enough in Blanche to keep reading. The historical back and forth device of the writing style makes the story more complicated to read than necessary.

v
v1h
Oct 20, 2015

This was the choice of a book club and was already on my To Read list, so I was happy to read it.... though it starts out slow, but somewhere around the middle it just gets better and better. And it becomes apparent that the jumping back and forth between (very close) times was necessary for the telling of it.

athompson10 Oct 19, 2015

Well researched and an interesting story about a fascinating time in American history. I got a little annoyed with the back-and-forth timeline, as it got hard to keep track of what was done when and to whom. This story would have benefited from a straight time line instead of the flashbacks.

n
niceauntie
Mar 05, 2015

Not awful but didn't meet my expectations. The story jumped around to the point where I found it confusing and irritating.

brianreynolds Feb 06, 2015

It’s hardly my place to tell Emma Donoghue she should change this or that in what has to be one the most readable, most entertaining, most horrifying, most delicious historical novels I’ve read: <i>Frog Music</i>. But I so wished it could have been about Jenny Bonnet instead of Blanche Beunon. Not that Blanche didn’t make the better representative of 19th century San Francisco and the better commentary on the plight of women and the better protagonist in terms of character development and the most likely to be tied to a railway track by Snidely Whiplash and the most likely to be dense enough to justify plenty of suspense, but Jenny is more likely to star in my memory of the book since she is a 21st century delight.

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PrairieStar
Jul 10, 2014

Listened to the downloadable MP3 and had a hard time putting it down. The jumping back and forth in time got a bit old, especially when it was just a rehash of information covered previously.

a
AuntMaryE
Jul 09, 2014

A gilded age prostitute has a relationship with a gentleman of the night. A typhoid epidemic hits San Francisco. The book is rich in period details. The appendix also has much helpful information.

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