Sunday, January 22, 2017

Book Review: The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams

The Wicked City
by Beatriz Williams

• Hardcover: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (January 17, 2017)

New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams recreates the New York City of A Certain Age in this deliciously spicy adventure that mixes past and present and centers on a Jazz Age love triangle involving a rugged Prohibition agent, a saucy redheaded flapper, and a debonair Princetonian from a wealthy family.

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 Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

A first marriage, made for the wrong reasons, or because you didn’t have enough experience to judge the merchandise.  Like a starter home or a starter car.  You trade up.

She’s the kind of woman who carries an air of beauty around her, carefully cultivated, like a waft of rare oil.  Delicate and chiseled.  Skin as marble in the moonlight. 

I realize we old folks aren’t supposed to talk about sex… but believe me, we had it.  Lots of it.  How do you think this country got so damned crowded?

My Review:

The Wicked City was an intriguing and enthralling conundrum.  Written from a dual POV in two distinct timelines spaced 74 years apart and involved the same building in New York City.  I was deeply embroiled in the story and the mystery continued to grow and thicken, I was never sure if, how, or when the two stories were going to sync or mesh together, or even how the characters were going to be related.  Both female characters in the different storylines were experiencing a period of great upheaval and were fraught with distress.  Both storylines featured mounting tension, impending peril, risks, disappointments, betrayals, and treachery.  While reading, I experienced a sense of inner conflict similar to arriving at an accident scene and at once feeling fearful to look yet also pulled by a powerful magnet and unable to look away.  I was quickly hooked by the elaborately detailed and quirky writing style as well as the premise and was instantly sucked down the rabbit hole and remained there, as despite my increasing befuddlement - I could not put my kindle down.  Ms. Williams maintained two tightly written and suspense-filled tales within one book that kept me on edge, curious, totally invested, and completely engaged. 

Empress DJ 

Purchase Links

About Beatriz Williams

A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz Williams spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons, before her career as a writer took off. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore.

Find out more about Beatriz at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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