It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.
She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
When I read the first few pages of this book, I was like, What the HECK? I had no idea what I was getting into. All I knew was that I’d picked up an ARC from the lady who wrote the siberian book. Call me a simpleton.
Alas though, Josie won my heart with a quote worthy of the history books.
“The only reason I’d lift my skirt is to pull out my pistol and plug you in the head.”
I’m kidding guys, kidding. But seriously, I really did admire her after that. Her character was strong, if nothing else. Strong, real and brave. I really liked the setting of 1950s New Orleans. It appealed to me, and it’s a setting I haven’t really seen a lot before.
This is a simple story, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s straightforward and honest. It’s about a girl trying to escape her life and live with it at the same time. Trying to protect her family and the people she cares about them while trying to shrug off the heavy prejudice and history they bring with them.
Outside of Josie, I can’t say much of what the last paragraph of the blurb offers. It literally offers well-made, well-done, well-invested, realistic, smart, beautiful, brave characters. I just admitted that I liked Josie, but I can’t say much of some of the supporting characters and Josie’s love for Jesse. The three things Jesse is built off of are his love of cars, his alcoholic father and he’ll do just about anything for Josie, but not really anything else. I could brush that away. Some people are simple, and that’s completely fine. I have nothing against simple people.
It’s just that those people seem like people because, well, they are. And when I say characters feel real, that’s because I felt that if I wasn’t holding a book in my hand, I could clearly see that person standing right in front of me. That the person in a story that I call real is just as real as everyone else. I didn’t feel it for some characters, and that was one of my problems with this book. I think this book is 4.3 stars for me. I really liked this book, but I wish that some of it’s weaker elements were a lot stronger. On the other hand, I loved Ruta Sepetys’s voice a lot more than in Between Shades of Gray and this was a great story.
pg count for the hardback: 346
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