“Sometimes we set off down a road thinkin’ we’re goin’ one place and we end up another. But that’s okay. The important thing is to start.”
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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 to 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.
Feelings: This book served as a break from all the fantasy books I’ve been reading lately. I needed something totally different and this book was the answer. I like historical fiction, but it’s not always my go-to genre. One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the 1950s jargon. I think one purpose of historical fiction is to teach the reader something about that time period. Sepetys did that really well in this book in the sense that it served as a great insight into the 1950s. Specifically, I was able to really get a grasp on social stigmas and race relations during this time.
Issues: The ending of this book happened really quickly, then everything was wrapped up with a pretty bow. Don’t get me wrong, I love a happy ending…but this one just felt rushed. I was reading along, then all of a sudden going, “Wait…WHAT?” *the end*
There were a couple of ups and downs with the pacing, for me. The first paragraph had me like Ooohhhh, okay interesting then about halfway through I switched to skim-skim-skim looking for dialloogguuueee THERE then I read the last 150 pages in one sitting because I was so invested in Josie’s life.
Characters: I wanted to be Josie’s friend and slug her mom. That’s normal, right? I appreciate imperfect characters because reality. Jo’s mom was a total disappointment in the mom department. I was glad when she ran off for a little while. At first, I was frustrated when she returned at the end…but I think Jo needed to be tested again. She needed a chance to choose between her own future and wanting her mother’s love.
I really enjoyed Josie’s character. I thought she was strong and determined to be better than her circumstances. I can always root for a character like that. I was confused a bit by her role at Willie’s brothel. She seemed to work there, cleaning up after the girls and making Willie’s morning coffee, but…why? What did she owe Willie? It’s not like Willie took her in or anything. But by the end of the book, I could see a bit more into their relationship. I’d probably help Willie out, too…mostly out of fear…
Patrick. Ohhh, Patrick. A lot of people were surprised by the way this love triangle turned out. I wasn’t shocked by it…I could kind of sense it coming. But that’s just me…that’s where my…mind goes? I don’t know.
Final thoughts: Ultimately, this is a pretty simple storyline. Also, I appreciate that this was a story about the daughter of a prostitute who works as a maid in a whore-house, and there wasn’t any vulgarity. It just wasn’t necessary and I really didn’t miss it. Thanks, Ruta. I’d absolutely recommend this book.
Pick this up if you liked:
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Goodreads rating: 4.06/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.6/5
My rating: 4.5/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn