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The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams

The Wicked City

by Beatriz Williams

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This book has a wonderful sense of atmosphere and is populated with a very realistic set of characters. The 2 story lines are intriguing but the 1920s plot could easily stand as a book on its own. In fact, I think it might be better without the jumping back and forth that so many novels seem compelled to do lately.
However, I loved the use of language and would love to know what happens next to Ginger! ( )
  rosiezbanks | Jul 25, 2017 |
The Wicked City alternates between 1924 (Geneva Rose Kelly)
and 1998 (Ella Hawthorne).
An old Greenwich Village apartment building provides the thread of commonality.
Ella has left a cheating husband and SoHo loft and taken an apartment here in an effort to evaluate her life.
She confronts an attractive tenant (Hector) and a unusual warning not to enter the basement at night.
Geneva Rose, from Maryland hill country, has fled the difficulties of her environment and became a free spirited flapper.
She is a regular at the Christopher Club, a speakeasy located in
this apartment house basement.
Given the backdrop of Prohibition, her life intertwines with
charming Princeton boy, Billy Marshall and Prohibition enforcement agent, Oliver Anson.
Both girls are well portrayed opposites, but Geneva Rose (in audio CD) was such an intriguing character.

Love triangles, questions of haunting, resolution of certain relationships and events are among the reasons I hope Beatrix Williams continues this story.

4★...such a good read. ( )
  pennsylady | May 30, 2017 |
It's the late 1990's and Ella Hawthorne has just discovered her husband cheating on her and impulsively moves out of their home and into a tiny apartment in an old Greenwich Village building. After going down to do her laundry in the basement early one morning, her good-looking neighbour Hector advises her to stay out of the basement at night. The space next to the laundry room used to be a speakeasy in the '20's and laughter, clinking glasses, and jazz music can still be heard to this day.

It's the 1920's and Gin Kelly, a saucy redhead, has moved from the hills of western Maryland to the Big Apple where she gets caught up in a raid at a speakeasy known as the Christopher Club. She also gets caught up in a love triangle between a rugged, strait-laced Prohibition enforcement agent and a Princeton boy from a well-known, well-to-do family. Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson persuades Gin to help catch her stepfather Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s major alcohol distributors and in the midst of that she uncovers secrets that will shock even her.

I honestly don't know how to tell someone how much I love this author's writing. Her books are just so damn well-written - descriptive without dragging on. Everything and everyone comes to life. It's told from two perspectives and they're both interesting. There are names in here that, if you've read her previous novels, you'll know. If it's by Beatriz Williams then you're guaranteed a great read and will be left wanting more. ( )
  jenn88 | Apr 25, 2017 |
Beatriz Williams may be my new favorite historical fiction author - this novel, with its story divided between the Roaring 20s and the late 90s New York City, is filled with fun, likable characters. The connections between the past and present come alive, with a small touch of the supernatural for intrigue. Fun reading, highly recommended for historical fiction fans. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Mar 18, 2017 |
I have developed a real love for stories set in the 1920s. Prohibition and the Jazz Age are simultaneously so seedy and so glamorous. There's just something so seductive about the time, juxtaposed so teasingly with underground, unspoken violence. Beatriz Williams' newest novel, The Wicked City, is set firmly in this glittering, dangerous world in New York City and in the small town Appalachia of a big time bootlegger.

It's 1998 and Ella Gilbert has left her husband after she finds him having sex with a prostitute. She's moving into an apartment on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, a place she'll be able to create a new life for herself. On her first day there, she meets Hector, a musician and the building handyman of sorts and she's drawn to him just as she's drawn to the building. He warns her not to go down to the laundry room after dark but she forgets his warning when she remembers that she's forgotten her laundry down there. Strange and alluring noises come from behind the wall and she wants to go investigate.

Flip to the 1920s. Geneva Rose Kelly, more familiarly known as Gin, is a flapper. Typist by day, she flirts with her wealthy college boyfriend in speakeasies by night, especially the speakeasy on Christopher Street. After a raid on said speakeasy, Gin ends up talking to Oliver Anson, a Prohibition agent who wants her help bringing down her step father, the man who has become one of the biggest bootleggers and distributors on the East Coast. Reluctant to help Anson, but just as reluctant to turn on her abusive, lecherous step father, Gin ends up entangled in the whole thing whether she wants to be or not.

The narrative shifts back and forth between Ella and Gin's presents although the 1920s is more fleshed out than the late 1990s and Gin tells her own story in first person while Ella's is a more distant third person narrative. Gin's story is the more compelling and dynamic one (as is she as a character, sassy creature that she is) so the imbalance works. Williams does a good job evoking the language of the 1920s and subtly changing Gin's language depending on whether she's in NYC or Appalachia. Clearly Ella and Gin are women of two different time periods although both are learning strength, determination, and independence after having fled from their first lives.

As the tie between Ella and Gin starts to come clearer, the pace of both narratives picks up steam. Williams' careful readers will recognize the Marshalls and the Schuylers from previous books and while the new reader isn't missing too much not knowing them yet, the connection makes the story just that tiny bit richer. There is a small paranormal element but it only pertains to Ella's narrative thread and doesn't overwhelm the otherwise straight realism. There are a few unresolved but important plot lines, including the questions of Gin's biological father and Ella's find in her role as a forensic accountant that could have been pursued a bit further. Maybe in a future book? But the dichotomy of Duke Kelly's murderousness and his benevolence towards the small town in which he lives is intriguing and terrible and the truth about Gin and Anson is captivating enough to carry the novel. This is a rollicking good read with heart pounding action, murder, deception, and lies. Williams' devoted fans will be delighted by it, historical fiction fans will thrill to it, and readers who enjoy nothing more than a good tale will be pleased to have found another novel that feeds their need so well. ( )
  whitreidtan | Jan 27, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062405020, Hardcover)

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. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 06 Oct 2016 10:23:18 -0400)

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