Rating: 4 stars
Who Should Read This: Anyone looking for a quick, easy read in the historical fiction genre.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
t’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.
This was a fun book to read. I needed an easy, fast paced book that had depth to it as well. The author does a wonderful job of painting a picture for the reader of New Orleans in the 1950's. The protagonist of the story, Josie, is so innocent and kind it is impossible not to like her. I would be surprised by anyone that doesn't root for her. As she tries to overcome being the daughter of a woman who works at a brothel and who seems to not care at all for her daughter, Josie sticks to her morals and knows that she can do better than what she has been handed. This books has lots of different characters that just add even more to the dynamic of this story. From Willie, the brothel madam who takes Josie under her wing, but also leads with a stern hand, to Cokie who would do anything and everything for Josie, to Jesse the bad boy that all the girls are swooning over, and Patrick who is loyal and one of those closest to Josie.
Through the writing the reader will get a picture of what it was like to live in New Orleans in those days. I think one of my favorite aspects of this book was how the author was able to humanize everyone in the story. Each character had their faults and Sepetys also shows the characters' compassion and understanding as well. You get a feeling of community between Josie, Cokie, Willie, and the ladies at the brothel. Even though Madam Willie has a sharp tongue and will always speak exactly what is on her mind, she takes care of those around her and is an ally that anyone would want to have. The women who worked at the brothel were each vibrant and flawed in their own ways, and I think that the author did a good job of bringing the reader to their level to see that there was more to each of the women than just what their occupation was.
There is definitely a lot more I could write pertaining to this book, but I don't want to ruin anything for the reader. There is a lot of twists and turns that will leave you hanging and wanting more. It was very hard for me to put this book down. I definitely had a late night finishing this one. Anyone looking for perseverance, loyalty, romance, and suspense will definitely be interested in this book.