Title: The Other Typist
Author: Suzanne Rindell
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Putnam / Amy Einhorn Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The year is 1924 and Rose is a typist at a police station in New York City. She prides herself on her efficiency, as her job is one of the few things she has to take pride in. Rose doesn’t make friends easily and was brought up by nuns because she is an orphan. But when glamorous, mysterious Odalie, a fellow typist, first walks into the police station, Rose is immediately taken with her. The two strike up a friendship, and as Rose begins to learns Odalie’s secrets, she makes decisions from which there is no return.
When The Other Typist first starts, it’s an engaging read to be sure. Social commentary, gender relations, and opinions of the “weaker” sex at a time of great change and upheaval—what’s not to love? Rindell writes with a sure hand, and she really captures the voice of Rose. The reader sees the world through her eyes, how she’s treated and what she experiences, and it’s interesting. Rindell’s prose is stunning, and it’s easy to be completely taken in by her gorgeous prose.
So, then, it comes as a surprise when it becomes clear that there are things about Rose that the reader does not know in The Other Typist. Seeing the world only through her eyes also has a drawback, it seems: Rose only shows the reader the side of the story she wants them to see. All of a sudden, the game completely changes. The reader is dealing with an unreliable narrator, and the truth behind every word Rose says comes into question. It’s unbelievably well done, especially with how deftly this novel turns into one of psychological suspense.
As the reader is trying to get to know Rose in The Other Typist, Odalie makes her grand entrance, and she’s definitely a sight to behold. She’s a huge puzzle from start to finish; it’s clear that she doesn’t need the job as a typist. Why is she there? Where does her money come from? And why, of all people, does she take plain, boring Rose as her friend and companion? Trying to figure out Odalie is just as delicious as trying to figure out Rose; as a pair, they are absolutely fascinating.
If you’re looking for a novel of the unexpected, a smart book that deals with social and gender issues while also being incredibly intriguing, The Other Typist is definitely a book you should pick up. It’s beautifully written, and behind that attractive mask lies two very different women who will take you in from beginning to end.