Tom Boy by Shelley Blanton-Stroud

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Four of Five Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book Title Tomboy: A Jane Benjamin Novel by Shelley Blanton-Stroud
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+), 308 pages
Genre Historical Thriller
Publisher She Writes Press
Release dates:   June 2022
Content Rating:
 PG-13 + M. The F word appears exactly once in the book. There is a completely non-explicit sex scene. There is a suicide.​

Book Description:

It’s 1939. Jane Benjamon’s got five days at sea to solve the murder of a Wimbledon champion’s coach and submit a gossip column that tells the truth. If not the facts.

On the brink of World War II, Jane wants to have it all. By day she hustles as a scruffy, tomboy cub reporter. By night she secretly struggles to raise her toddler sister, Elsie, and protect her from their mother.

But Jane’s got a plan: she’ll become the San Francisco Prospect’s first gossip columnist and make enough money to care for Elsie.

Jane finagles her way to the women’s championship at Wimbledon, starring her hometown’s tennis phenom and cover girl Tommie O’Rourke. Jane plans to write her first column there. But then she witnesses Edith “Coach” Carlson, Tommie’s closest companion, drop dead in the stands of apparent heart attack, and her plan is blown.

​Sailing home on the RMS Queen Mary, Jane veers between competing instincts: Should she write a social bombshell column, personally damaging her new friend Tommie’s persona and career? Or should she work to uncover the truth of Coach’s death and its connection to a larger conspiracy involving US participation in the coming war?

Putting away her menswear and donning first-class ballgowns, Jane discovers what upper-class status hides, protects, and destroys. Ultimately—like nations around the globe in 1939—she must choose what she’ll give up in order to do what’s right.




I didn’t read the first book in this series, but I had no problems getting to know Jane and what was taking place in this book. She is trying to master raising a toddler as well as her job as a tomboy reporter while dressed in her finest young man’s clothes. And even when her boss found her out, she was so good at her job, he keeps her on as his employee. That’s a bit to say in the 1930’s. She masters at several interesting things, including a trip across the ocean and back. But will she get the big jobs she wants to make a good life for she and her toddler?

This is quite the journey to follow this character throughout the book. Jane is definitely not the perfect person, but she strives yo do what need by to survive.  The author does a very nice job of writing with so much detail that it is easy to follow the story. The characters are well written into the story, and I enjoyed their development throughout this story, although the adventures of Jane and sometimes Tommie as well were kinda wild and truly adventurous. Tomboy is getting Four Stars from me. If you like Hidtorical Thriller type books, you are surr to like this one.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. 


Guest Post

Splashes of Joy

Collaborating with an audiobook narrator

I had no way of knowing, when I first met audiobook narrator, April Doty, how she would influence Tomboy and the Jane Benjamin Trilogy.

April worked out of her home studio in Spain, so we met at a mutually convenient hour over Zoom. (This was excellent preparation for the many Zoom meetings we would all later have while accommodating the pandemic.)

I knew the first time I heard a recorded excerpt of April’s narration that she was the perfect Jane for me. Her voice was almost exactly what I heard in my head as I wrote Copy Boy, my first novel in the trilogy. Now, because of that audiobook, I completely heard April’s voice as I wrote Tomboy. So her voice was a godsend. But that’s not all.

April had questions about my novels, things she needed to know before narrating. How much does Jane know about the truth when she narrates this scene? How confident is she in what she’s asserting in this scene? How completely should her hidden accent slip out when she’s emotional? How earnest should she be in this scene, how cynical? What should be revealed in the sound of her voice when she talks to or about her mother?

I loved those questions because they reminded me that even a brilliant, careful reader cannot know everything I know about my characters. It was a reminder to provide the information I really need a reader to know, so they are not left guessing.

On the other hand, it has been a delight and joy to hear April find something in my own character that I didn’t recognize. April located joy and wonder in Jane where I didn’t see it, and that improved the way I continue to write.

One of the greatest gifts of this writing life, in addition to conversations with readers, are the collaborations with other creatives—the narrator, the cover designer, the editor—who help me refine my story, getting it closer and closer to the truth of that character, who now lives like family in my mind. I hope you’ll love April Doty’s narration as I do.

Buy the Book:
Capital Books
Amazon ~ B&N ~
Audible ~ Libro ~ Kobo
Scribd ~ Chirp ~ Amazon (audiobook)
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Narrator:

April Doty is a classically trained actress with a BFA from Syracuse University. She is a voice actor and the narrator of 26 books. Born in Virginia, educated in New York, seasoned in London and settled in Spain, April Doty brings the sound of a rich and varied life experience to her narration. The character of Jane came to life in her home studio on the Costa del Sol. 

connect with the narrator:  website twitter linkedIn ~ soundcloud


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