Josie Moraine can’t seem to stay out of the gutter. Her mother is a mercenary prostitute in a fancy brothel who resents her for “ruining her in her prime”; her father is unidentified and absent. All Josie wants is to escape the French Quarter low-lives of 1950’s New Orleans, but everyone says a girl like her will never belong anywhere else. When a recent customer of the book store where she works meets a sudden and maybe-not-natural death, Josie finds herself pulled even deeper into the muck. Still, she struggles to find a way to cut loose from her origins and become something better.
Wow wow. I loved this book! The biggest thing I have to say about it is that the author had this effortless, subtle way of making me care really and deeply about all the characters, even the minor ones. There were no big, obvious moments where I thought “wow, I now care about this character”— it just crept up on me. They were all really realistic and deeply sympathetic in their own ways. Josie was so awesome: sensible, brave, and independent, but not invincible either. I would definitely be friends with her! There were quite a few supporting characters, but each was totally unique from the rest, and each brought something different to the story.
The romance was a relatively small factor in the overall plot, but it was cutey cute cute. The story as a whole was complex and intelligent, and satisfyingly meaningful. And it flowed well, keeping me turning pages.
There was so much complexity that I’m wondering if it wasn’t a little over-ambitious, squeezing it all into one book. Not everything was quite resolved or fully played out, and there are strings that I would have liked tied up a little better. I’d say that’s my primary criticism. But better to have too much than not enough, probably.
Marvelous book. And so pretty! Not only is the cover beautiful, it has those uneven faux-hand-bound pages. Very nice effect! I have many feelings for this book! Recommend.