Review: The Wicked City

I picked up The Wicked City based on the author Beatriz Williams. The description on NetGalley (see below) had me expecting a dual timeline POV with a little mystery connected to the historical fiction.

While I enjoyed reading this book, and absolutely enjoyed following Ginger as a character, I wished there had been more flipping back and forth between timelines.

Ginger (“Gin”) was a unique character to be the main character. She is an independent woman and very strong willed. I would get so sucked into the Jazz Age, Prohibition era with Ginger that I would have that hangover when I was back int the real world. However, when the POV would change to the current time line, it felt shocking. Especially since such a long time spent in the 20s with Ginger, then by the time the timeline switched, I had forgotten what had happened.

I really appreciated the  author’s note at the end, that she tried to replicate an Appalachian accent when writing Ginger and her family. And, although the dialect has evolved and changed since the 1920s, she tried to capture the basic ways of speaking.

While this book left me wanting more, I really did enjoy spending in the Jazz Era with Ginger, and thought that storyline could have stood alone.

Thank you to William Morrow and NetGalley for the digital copy in exchange for my review.

Synopsis:

Two generations of women are brought together inside a Greenwich Village apartment —a flapper hiding an extraordinary past, and a modern-day Manattanite forced to start her life anew.

When she discovers her banker husband has been harboring a secret life, Ella Gilbert escapes her SoHo loft for a studio in Greenwich Village. Her charismatic musician neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement after midnight, when a symphony of mysterious noise strikes up—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano, the occasional bloodcurdling scream—even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the basement was home to one of the city’s most notorious speakeasies.

In 1924, Geneva “Gin” Kelly, a quick-witted flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway. Caught up in a raid, Gin lands in the office of Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather, Duke Kelly, one of the biggest bootleggers in Appalachia.

But Gin is nobody’s fool. She strikes a risky bargain with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent, and their alliance rattles Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redhead.

As Ella unravels the strange history of her new building—and the family thread that connects her to Geneva Kelly—she senses the Jazz Age spirit of her exuberant predecessor invading her own shy nature, in ways that will transform her existence in the wicked city.

Review: Meet Me in Monaco

I was absolutely drawn to Meet Me in Monaco based on the cover. Going into this book, I knew very little about Grace Kelly, both as an actress or as Princess of Monaco.

Heck, living outside of Philadelphia, you would think our very own native-born PRINCESS would be honored here more than she is!

That said, this fictional work around the life of Grace Kelly was an interesting read. I didn’t much care for Sophie throughout the book, even though she was the main character. That said, the side characters and the story was enough to keep me focused on finishing the book.

To me, Sophie is very selfish-centered and hyper-focused on herself and her business. I definitely felt like Sophie and Lucien were well paired since they were so alike.

On the other hand, I liked James a lot, and wished his story had been a happier one.

The authors were very good at transporting the reader to 1950s Cannes and Monaco without spending too much ink describing every detail.

Thank you to William Morrow and NetGalley for the review copy.

Review: A Woman of Intelligence

A Woman of Intelligence was such a captivating read. Set in 1950s New York, Katharina is married to the city’s leading pediatric surgeon and has two  young boys. Even though she seemingly has the perfect life, she finds her apartment overlooking Central Park to be a gilded cage.

Katharina was such an interesting character. I do feel like the book spent a little too much time focused on the plight of women in the 1950s and the how hard it is to raise children.

That said, I did ache for Katharina who was forced to spend every spare minute with her children when all she wanted was to work or spend time with other adults.

This was neatly crafted spy novel – though I honestly wished it were a little longer. I felt like the ending came a little abruptly. Hopefully there will be another book following Katharina and her work with the FBI.

Thank you to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for the advanced listening copy.

Review: Her Last Flight

I had the classic struggle with Her Last Flight: binge it all quickly because it was just that good, or slow read and savor even chapter, every page, every sentence. I opted for savoring this captivating novel. Author Beatriz Williams doesn’t spare any words, and yet the book remains lush with details. 

While this is solidly historical fiction, the story also surrounds the mystery of the female pilot who goes missing during an around the world airplane derby. (Nope, not a story about Amelia Earhart, but definitely has some Earhart feels to it).

I loved the juxtaposition of Janey and Irene – both independent, strong and stubborn women. Janey is an AP war photographer who sets off to a remote Hawaiian village to interview Irene Lindquist, the owner of a local island-hopping airline and who she believes is the missing pilot.

The ending was shocking – I didn’t see it coming! I won’t say anymore because – spoilers. But, let me just say…wow!

That said, while I loved Janey, our narrator and main character, I didn’t always connect with her. I did enjoy her story – both in Hawaii, and in her past when she’s covering the war. She has a difficult time connecting to other people and, because of her job, moves from one place to another without making or keeping too many relationships herself. And, once she’s in Hawaii, I felt she was stubborn and pushy, but also withholding information.

This was a great read: I soared through the skies with Irene, and I laughed, and I cried with Janey and Irene and the whole cast of characters.

Thank you to NetGalley, author Beatriz Williams and William Morrow Books for this advanced copy for my honest review.