RED-HEADED KIT CORRIGAN IS ONE of the "Corrigan Three," triplets whose birth killed their mother, and who are raised by a father, Jimmy. The three were put on stage in their first months of life, their unique birth exploited in order for the family to earn a living during the 1930s and '40s. From the get-go, Kit's father has billed her as the saucy actress of the three, and over the course of the story, she slowly grows into her own sense of self as a dancer. At seventeen, she is ready to leave her hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, and go to New York City to find stardom on Broadway. But her hometown isn't as easy to leave as she thinks.
From the first paragraph of Strings Attached, National Book Award winner Judy Blundell throws the reader into the harsh, glittering world of off-Broadway sixty years ago: "COCKTAILS AND SPAGHETTI blinked in cheerful, lipstick-red neon at me from a window." Kit lands a job in a chorus line and gets a cheap room with one of the other girls, whose good will Kit cannot afford to lose. But when she is distracted by the appearance of Nate Benedict, a notorious mob lawyer and the father of her hometown boyfriend, she steps on toes — literally and figuratively. What follows is a cascading effect that ends in Kit's accepting Benedict's offer of a free apartment. He claims he wants to do right by his son, who has joined the army suddenly and whom Kit might eventually wish to marry. Kit has a sinking feeling, however, that Nate's offer is too good to be true, but she can't act on it until it is too late and her old life sinks away from her, out of sight.
For a while, it seems as if Nate Benedict can't possibly be as bad as the papers claim. He's just a lawyer; he can't help who his clients are. Even the mob bosses deserve a fair trial, right? When Nate gets Kit a job as a dancer at The Lido, a hot nightclub, Kit wants to tell him the truth, that she and Billy broke up before he joined the army, but she can't. Without Nate, where would she be? On the street, without a job, or back in Providence, Rhode Island, with her father and her two siblings, Muddie and Jamie. If Kit has any hope of making her dreams of professional dancing come true, she has to take every chance given to her.
Kit tells the reader early on:
Faith seems to grab people and not let go, but hope is a double-crosser. It can beat it on you anytime; it's your job to dig in your heels and hang on. Must be nice to have hope in your pocket, like loose change you could jingle through your fingers.
It all begins to fall apart when Billy comes to town on leave and, for a little while, Kit (and the reader with her) believes she can have her dreams and Billy, too. Then a man is murdered at the Lido and, because of Nate, K...read more