Author: Michael Callahan
“A young woman is swept up in the glamour and excitement of chasing the title of Miss America 1950–only to vanish the night she wins.”
This work of genius is inspired by a true story. It’s no surprise the book starts off with suspicion that 80 year old Jane Proctor is in fact Miss America 1950, Betty Jane Welch. Let’s take you back to 1949 when Betty’s mother cooked her lemon cake. She knew this meant one thing, what was going on? Betty’s mother was the reason she entered the Delaware pageant. There’s no way she would win, she was just appeasing her mother. Until she won Miss Delaware and was sent off to Atlantic City. As every pageant thus far, all of the ladies are anxiously waiting for the night they all meet their escorts for their time here in AC. When the night comes, Miss Delaware meet her escort, the charming and beautiful– Mr. John Griffin McAllister…from here the story begins with a penny and a wish. What events actually unfolded the night Betty Jane Welch was crowned Miss America 1950?
This story had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I had no choice but to finish this book in 2 sittings, it literally gave me no other option. Michael Callahan takes us through–what must have been–such a ride for Betty. Although based on a true story, characters and (some) events are all fictional. Bette Cooper, who the story is based on, has never spoken about what happened that night in 1937 with escort Lou Off. She has spoken with many reporters who knock on her door looking to gain some insight by simply telling them, “There is no Miss America here.” It’s interesting enough to me, the actual mystery still hasn’t been solved.
My favorite character from this book is most definitely Betty’s roommate during the pageant, Catherine (Ciji) Moore Miss Rhode Island. Okay, maybe I’m being a little bit biased because LIL RHODY is my hometown! No, honestly I loved her character so much more than all the rest. Her personality being blunt and always willing to lend a helping hand to Betty no matter how serious the situation is truly admiring to me. Thanks to Michael Callahan for portraying the RI girl correctly! 😉
I urge anyone ages 16-older for this book. It gets very, VERY dark at times so I know at least for me, if I were any younger I might not be able to handle this read–even at age 18. Good luck putting this suspenseful novel down!