In the first book of a breathtaking new trilogy by bestselling author Beatriz Williams, two generations of women are brought together inside a Greenwich Village apartment —a flapper hiding an extraordinary past, and a modern-day Manattanite forced to start her life anew.
When she discovers her banker husband has been harboring a secret life, Ella Gilbert escapes her SoHo loft for a studio in Greenwich Village. Her charismatic musician neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement after midnight, when a symphony of mysterious noise strikes up—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano, the occasional bloodcurdling scream—even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the basement was home to one of the city’s most notorious speakeasies.
In 1924, Geneva “Gin” Kelly, a quick-witted flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway. Caught up in a raid, Gin lands in the office of Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather, Duke Kelly, one of the biggest bootleggers in Appalachia.
But Gin is nobody’s fool. She strikes a risky bargain with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent, and their alliance rattles Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redhead.
As Ella unravels the strange history of her new building—and the family thread that connects her to Geneva Kelly—she senses the Jazz Age spirit of her exuberant predecessor invading her own shy nature, in ways that will transform her existence in the wicked city.
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Too much unfinished
Spoiler Alerts in this Review. This might have been the Publisher’s pushing a deadline but this is the first book I’ve read written by Beatriz Williams that doesn’t manage to tie the storylines together. There are so many questions left unanswered that have to do with buttons and a black enamel case, what they represent and why they disappear. Much of the book is spent waiting for the moment that is actually the reason for someone to go through the trouble of bricking in a basement (historic speakeasy). We’re left to assume the reason is the moment Carl dies but it’s a stretch. The story of the Kelly’s is a great read but the desire for a wrap-up chapter is undeniable regarding the speakeasy, the buttons and the Marshall’s.
The story set in the ‘90’s leaves Ella’s career in question. Why isn’t she empowered to deal with this, it seems to start going in a direction of empowerment but never takes off. We’re lead to believe maybe her estranged husband, Patrick, is the “enemy” who leaked that she has a conflict of interest at the bank she’s investigating but that also goes nowhere. And Hector and his family in regards to the speakeasy and the apartment building, there’s a big mystery there that also goes nowhere.
Beatriz Williams writes such great stories and every one of her books has delicious, interesting characters that tie them all together. But read this one with a warning label that you’ll be left wondering… about a lot of things.