I can’t get enough of the Femmes Fatales book series on Feminist Press. They’ve been reissuing classic noir novels from female writers. I’ve started with the books that were adapted into films. In A Lonely Place was haunting. Bunny Lake Is Missing was dripping with gas light paranoia. In many respects Olive Higgins Prouty’s Now, Voyager is a departure from those first two titles. It’s not really a noir at all, but a classic 40s romance. The book follows Charlotte Vale, a spinster aunt who embarks on a European cruise after a stint in a sanitarium where she was recovering from a nervous breakdown. Courtesy of her caring sister-in-law, Charlotte has a new wardrobe and a new hairdo. Over the course of the cruise she starts to regain her lost-confidence, in large part due to her dalliance with the henpecked JD Durrance. There’s honesty to their blossoming romance. Durrance has also suffered from a breakdown in his recent past and his married life is a shambles. Now, Voyager’s strength comes from watching our two leads crawl from the wreckage of their lives, trying to find a place for themselves amidst a world that hasn’t been kind to them. To be sure, Now, Voyager has some dark underpinnings. Their romance seems doomed due to Durrance’s marital status, and the threat of emotional relapse gives the novel a sense of disquiet, particularly once the cruise ends and each must return to their formerly lonely lives. The first half of the book is a carefree escapade that gives way to the book’s second half and it’s more mundane realities. It wasn’t part of my summer plan, but, hey, I just read a summer romance novel!