by Veronika Carnaby
In her debut novel, Veronika Carnaby picks up where the Beat Generation left off. Set in 1960, Bohemia chronicles a group of twenty-somethings who defy the "ideals" of a mid-twentieth century society to seek creative fulfillment. In the process, they spotlight the creative path that artists of all mediums tread, all the while depicting the challenges faced by youth in the decade that changed the world.
The premise of Veronika Carnaby's Bohemia is an extremely interesting one: the reader basically follows Valerie, the main character and her friends, a group of Cambridge graduates in the 1960s through their "coming-of-age" adventures. The reader is able to easily identify with the characters. The reason being that Valerie is a lively young woman who wants to create something of an identity for herself. This is something that is easy to relate to in any decade. However, it is easy to fall into the decade due to the spirit of the beat generation and what is ultimately one of the most famous "coming of age" eras of the nation's history. Anyone who loves the history and style of the 1960s could easily enjoy this story.
With that said, if you happen to read reviews on other sites (such as Amazon), you will read that the narrative/story-telling jumps around a bit. I'll be honest, it does seem like that at times. Since the characters are unpredictable, it is easy to get lost in their own independent personalities. I personally enjoyed the differences and was able to follow along, but I can see where this could be a problem for some readers. Overall, however, Bohemia is a very enjoyable read! Also, as a sidenote, check out her website (below) for some more from Veronika, including an interview link!