CITY OF GIRLS begins as a lighthearted, frothy tale full of youthful hedonism, but midway it becomes a serious, thoughtful drama about healing and forgiveness. The memorable central character, Vivian Morris, narrates the story as she looks back on her long life and experiences. Mostly set in the glamorous theater district of 1940s Manhattan, this historic fiction contains characters who lead unconventional lives. Author Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing is engaging with a definite feminist slant. I especially enjoyed exploring the sights and sounds of New York City alongside Vivian. For me, this book was a pleasant surprise.