The forgotten sister of Fred Astaire
Dancer, Icon, Star
[ About the Book ]
Adele is a tale of talent, glamour and fame at the height of the roaring 20s.
1973: Californian journalist Ellie Morgan sets out on a mission to research the life of Adele Astaire, famed 1920s dancer and comedienne, older sister to Fred Astaire. She uncovers a wealth of material from the people who knew her.
1905: Eight-year-old Adele Austerlitz moves from her humble home in Omaha, Nebraska, with her five-year-old brother Fred, to New York to begin training at a professional stage academy. They undertake a gruelling schedule of rehearsals and touring, setting the foundations of what will be the most famous and sought-after dance partnership on 1920s Broadway.
1928: Patricia Ryan, a no-nonsense Irish girl takes a job as a housemaid at Lismore Castle in County Waterford, Ireland.
All of their lives will intersect, weaving the tale of one of the most famous women of her time – charismatic entertainer, celebrity, fashion icon, muse to artists and writers, and favourite of royalty.
[ My Review ]
ADELE: The Forgotten Sister of Fred Astaire. Dancer, Icon, Star by Nicola Cassidy is quite simply a delicious read. Just published with Poolbeg Press, it is a wonderful blend of fact and fiction capturing the life of a fascinating individual. I am delighted to be joining Nicola today on tour with my review of ADELE
I had heard of Adele Astaire. I was aware of the fact she had been a child dancer doing a double act with her younger brother, Hollywood legend, Fred Astaire. But that was it. That really was the extent of my knowledge and then I picked up ADELE and no other word for it, but I devoured this book. A captivating read bringing that exciting era of vaudeville theatre and live performances, before the talkies, very much into the readers imagination. Adele (Delly) and Fred (Freddie) Austerlitz were born in Omaha Nebraska to Fritz and Johanna. From a very young age Adele was a cheeky entertainer, playing for the crowd and lapping up the attention. Her younger brother, Fred, remained in her shadow, a slightly more serious boy.
Times were difficult for the Austerlitz family in Omaha and on seeing the talent of their children, a decision was made to take them to New York for stage school which would hopefully open up a career in show business. It was always Adele that was expected to be the famous one, and while she was the darling of the theater, as the years passed her light faded and Fred’s sparkled brightly, his elegance, his iconic dance style forever etched in our minds. But what happened to Adele? What was her story?
Nicola Cassidy takes the reader on the most scintillating journey through the early 20th century, an era where society changed beyond recognition.
The Austerlitz’ changed their name to Astaire, a name they felt would be more memorable as a stage name. They became a very recognised children’s act, with their theatrical performances receiving great praise. They did face down some opposition and had many challenges to overcome with their biggest being when Adele was no longer a child. Their performance had to change…and change radically. Fred’s skill and his demand for precise moves and perfect performances rattled Adele. She was a fun-loving girl who enjoyed the slap-dash style of performing, getting the laughs and the joining in with her audience. But they did adapt and success was theirs again as they took their act to the UK and were adored by the British public.
Nicola Cassidy weaves fictitious events around the lives of Adele and Fred with a really captivating story-line. And of course Nicola also includes the delightfully true Irish connection!
It’s 1973 and Ellie Morgan is a Californian journalist determined to uncover the life and times of Adele Astaire. For personal reasons she is intent on her research, which takes her hundreds of miles across states. Meeting a few interested folk and making some fascinating discoveries about Adele Astaire on her journey, reveals to Ellie more than she could have ever imagined.
From the breweries of Omaha, Nebraska to the theatres of New York, from London to the beautiful Lismore Castle in Co. Waterford, ADELE is a book that enchants and offers pure escapism from our daily lives. Nicola Cassidy weaves her magic around this incredible tale with gorgeous, vivid descriptions of the gin filled, cocktail swilling Roaring 20s to the war years and it’s impact on the world. There are moments of heartbreak and grief which help balance the book and give the reader a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at the harshness of life on the road and the difficult choices that oft were made. Adele Astaire was an extremely talented, intelligent, fun-loving gal who was incredibly close to her family. She had an incredible work ethic but could never match that of her beloved brother Fred. He had an in-built determination with an intense need for constant perfection. They were a wonderful pairing and their love and respect for each other shines through the pages, but they did face much upheaval in their lives.
ADELE is a bewitching, compelling glorious read from start to finish. It is a glamorous, entertaining and charismatic read, one I thoroughly enjoyed. ADELE is a first-rate,superb novel from Nicola Cassidy, the perfect read for all with an interest in historical fiction and for any with an interest in the Astaire siblings.
[ Bio ]
Nicola Cassidy is a writer and blogger from Co. Louth, Ireland. She started her writing career early, entering short story competitions as a child and became an avid reader. Encouraged by her English teachers, she chose to study journalism at Dublin City University and while working in political PR and marketing, studied a series of advanced creative writing courses at the Irish Writers’ Centre. Later she set up a lifestyle and literary blog www.LadyNicci.com, which was shortlisted in the Ireland Blog Awards in 2015 and 2016 and finalist in 2017 and 2018.
She signed with Trace Literary Agency in 2016. December Girl was Nicola’s debut historical fiction novel and is set in the mystical and ancient Boyne Valley, Co. Meath, famed for its stone age passage tombs. Elements of the story are inspired by true events. Her second novel The Nanny at Number 43 was published in 2019 by Poolbeg Press.
Adele is her third novel and was published March 5th 2020 with Poolbeg Press.
She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Termonfeckin, Co. Louth.
Website – www.ladynicci.com
Twitter – @ladynicci
Facebook – www.facebook.com/ladynicciblog.
This sounds absolutely wonderful, Mairéad. Lovely review.
Nicola it really is. It was just perfect for me. Thank you so much. x
Smashing review. Really like the sound of this and I know the ladies in my book group would too.
Linda thank you so much. I think it’s a book that will appeal to so many x
Wonderful review! Definitely want to read or listen to this one if there’s an audiobook! xx
Oh Nicki thank you. Definitely one for you xx