The Green Lace Corset: A Novel

Written by Jill G. Hall
Review by Brodie Curtis

Told in parallel narratives, this is the story of two women, one an artist in modern-day San Francisco and the other a hostage in the late 19th-century Old West, who are confronted with choices that will determine their independence. Anne, an artist and art teacher struggling to make ends meet, travels to Flagstaff on holiday to shake off lingering emotions from her broken engagement. She is enthralled by her shopping find of a green lace corset from yesteryear. Nearly a century and a half before, Sally Sue winters at an isolated farmstead near Flagstaff, held as a kidnapping victim after experiencing a harrowing bank robbery in Kansas City.

Anne wrestles with contemporary issues like workplace politics, uncertain paternity when she becomes pregnant, and undependable childcare resources as a single mother in San Francisco, the place where she feels most at home. Nuanced descriptions of Anne’s mosaic art techniques and gardening knowledge help define her as a central character.

Sally Sue comes to see the admirable qualities in her roguish kidnapper as he teaches her frontier ways far from her humdrum life in Missouri under the thumb of her overbearing mother. Should she embrace her rogue captor, his ways, and his past, or make a break for it? Scenes are described vividly, especially those set in Arizona’s northern mountains. Sally Sue’s new frontier life is rendered with period detail like buckshot and the hay loft, her willow cup and washboard, and a comforting doe and her family of deer that live in the meadow.

The Green Lace Corset is the author’s third book in a series of stories of women generations apart whose lives intersect through vintage items.