Title: The Wicked City
Author: Beatriz Williams
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: January 17, 2017
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "When she discovers her husband cheating, Ella Hawthorne impulsively moves out of their SoHo loft and into a small apartment in an old Greenwich Village building. Her surprisingly attractive new neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement at night. Tenants have reported strange noises after midnight—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano—even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the place hid a speakeasy.
In 1924, Geneva "Gin" Kelly, a smart-mouthed flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin becomes entangled with Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers.
Headstrong and independent, Gin is no weak-kneed fool. So how can she be falling in love with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent when she’s got Princeton boy Billy Marshall, the dashing son of society doyenne Theresa Marshall, begging to make an honest woman of her? While anything goes in the Roaring Twenties, Gin’s adventures will shake proper Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redhead—secrets that will echo from Park Avenue to the hollers of her Southern hometown.
As Ella discovers more about the basement speakeasy, she becomes inspired by the spirit of her exuberant predecessor, and decides to live with abandon in the wicked city too. . . "
My Two Cents:
"The Wicked City" is a story told in two times. Ella lives in present day New York City. She has just moved into an old building in Greenwich Village after finding her husband cheating. She is about to discover that the building that she is living in is hiding greater secrets than she initially imagined. Gin is a young woman on the run from her not very glamorous beginnings. Both of these women feel like they are missing something. This book explores if they'll find it.
I know that I am in pretty good hands when it comes to Beatriz Williams and her historical fiction. This book is no different. I was really excited about having at least one part of the book set in the 1920s, a decade that is always a treat for this reader! I loved, loved, loved how Williams was able to capture the dialogue of Gin and her contemporaries. The 1920s had some of the most interesting slang and speech patterns. By pulling this in, it really made the characters in Gin's time feel real. The detail here is great.
As with so many of the books split between the past and the present, I was much more attracted to the past story. The detail was better. Gin as a character glowed much more than Ella (although Ella eventually turns a corner as the book goes on). Gin's story and personality were much more interesting to me. I found myself always wanting to get back to her sections of the narrative, which did make the book feel a bit uneven for me.
Overall, the book was good and will thrill historical fiction lovers who love a healthy dose of romance in their reading.