Friday, March 15, 2013

The Big Easy

OUT OF THE EASY by Ruta Sepetys. Philomel, 2013.

New Orleans in the 1950s is a fascinating time period: brothels, bookstores, gangsters, Mardi Gras. What more could one want in a book? How about a heroine who is caught between two worlds? A series of nefarious characters? Some snobs? Unusual friends? Morris Finalist (Between Shades of Grey) Sepetys spins the tale of Josie, the daughter of a prostitute. Josie fled "home" early and now resides over the bookstore in which she works in the afternoons. Each morning, though, she returns to Willie's brothel to clean up after the wreckage of the preceding evening. When her mother runs off with the ne'er do well Cincinnati, Josie hopes her life will settle down a little. What follows is not quite what Josie hoped. A death, perhaps a murder, a friendship that might be more, threats, opportunities, and more combine in this coming of age story with an incredibly eccentric cast of characters.

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