February 2, 2017

The Wicked City. Beatriz Williams

book cover
Published: William Morrow
Date: 17th January 2017
Format: Kindle
Pages: 384 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
4 stars              Add to Goodreads
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 midnightólaughter, clinking glasses, jazz pianoóeven 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 Appalachiaís 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 sheís 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, Ginís adventures will shake proper Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redheadósecrets 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 thoughts banner
Wicked City is set mainly in the 1920's with a smaller section of it set in1998.  In 1998 we meet Ella - a scion of the Schyler family, recently separated from her husband Patrick after finding him in a very compromising position. She finds herself pulled into some mysterious goings on in the basement laundry - the sound of jazz from a speakeasy at night.

Back in the 1920's we meet Gin - Geneva Kelly, a young woman with a kind of double life, who frequents that speakeasy in New York. It is the time of prohibition and Gin finds herself caught up in the whole booze trafficking business. She is innocent, but her greasy slime ball stepfather is not, growing a big business in her old home place in the Appalachian mountains. 

Gin is friends with a young gentleman Billy, but soon she finds herself interacting with Oliver Anson, a person who is tracking down all those who work in the drink trafficking business and especially Duke Kelly.

I liked the story, Gin grew on me as the story progressed, she is a brave determined woman, looking for answers. She is very loyal to those she loves. And it turns out she has some great skills, although she has experienced hard times.  

There is plenty of action, the plot moves along well and the link between the two eras is fairly well done, but I did expect to see something more in that link. I do have a few reservations about the book because I felt there were objects and happenings that got no final explanation or resolution except well... "let's let it go and move on". I want more than that! I also flipped the page and found the end. And I said aloud "What?" It left me wanting more and disappointed. However this is the beginning of a series. Perhaps there will be more about these characters. I can hope!

In spite of those reservations I did enjoy the story, getting a peek at those Prohibition days and what it led to. Strange times. It kept me turning the pages and I enjoyed it. Will I read the next one? Of course.

Beatriz Williams

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.

Purchase Links

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  1. I do not want to feel that at the end

  2. Hmm I have this on my pile and she's a fave of mine. Fingers crossed I feel better about it. But hey for that she still got a four star that's impressive!

  3. I find the Prohibition days fascinating! I wonder sometimes what decades of our life will be interesting to future generations. I wonder if Prohibition was as interesting back then as it seems now!

    Thank you for being on this tour!

  4. I like the whole vibe of this book. The end of book one sounds like what A Promise of Fire did. That's why i didn't give it 5 stars.

  5. I've been eyeing this book...love the era! Thanks for sharing, but I don't like cliff-hanger endings, even if there is another book coming!

    1. No its not a cliffhanger ending, rather just some tie ups I wanted to see but which weren't going to be!

  6. Love her books.

    This one sounds very good too. Love this era.

    Darn on the "un-tied-up ending." I like my books to be all wrapped up and solved. :)

    Thanks for sharing, Kathryn.

  7. I'm erading a book on the Chicago Blues in the 50s so I'd like a novel about jazz in NYCX of the 1920s.

  8. I agree the ending was a little looser than I expected. I'm curious to see where Williams' goes with the story. I love Gin! She did take a little getting used too but I loved how tough and smart she was!


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