It’s 1925, and the Victorian era with its confining morals is all but dead. Unfortunately, for New York socialite Charlotte Delacorte, the scandalous flapper revolution is little more than a headline in the tabloids. Living with her rigid and controlling husband William, her Fifth Avenue townhouse is a gilded cage. But when William’s rebellious younger sister, the beautiful and brash Mae, comes to live with them after the death of their mother, Charlotte finds entrée to a world beyond her wildest dreams – and a handsome and mysterious stranger whom she imagines is as confident in the bedroom as he is behind the bar of his forbidden speakeasy.
Soon, Charlotte realizes that nothing is as it seems. Secrets are kept and discovered, loves are lost and found, and Charlotte is finds herself on the brink of losing everything — or having it all.
I wasn't expecting to read this all in one sitting. I mean, it's written in a soap opera-like way with each scene taking off where one ends, but, as with Brenner's other novel (writing as Logan Belle, The Librarian), I was instantly pulled in as soon as I started reading. And I enjoyed every minute.
The story begins with a funeral and the family expectations that are placed upon the surviving members inside a powerful New York family during the 1920s. It is prohibition time and I felt myself inside that world with the descriptive writing of the clothing, architecture, and the way women were expected to behave back then. The main character Charlotte is easily liked, and she finds protectors hidden both in her home and the speakeasies she is so drawn.
The Gin Lovers was originally published in 6 installments, and I had the fortune of reading the entire book in one sitting. I probably wouldn't be as fulfilled if I had to completely stop and wait for the next scene; I'm a little impatient when it comes to good reading. There was mystery and romance and lush descriptions of that time period that kept me turning the page.
I loved the transformation of Charlotte as well. She begins as the young, good wife who is expected to do all she can to prevent scandal to the wealthy family she married into. This includes watching over her sister-in-law who can't help but to bring her family down by whom she is attracted. Charlotte meets the raw Jake Larkin in the process who brings life and love back to her in a way her husband cannot, or won't.
And in the end, she learns the good are not so good, and the bad aren't so really bad. And those twists made the page turning all that more worth it. Brenner makes it easy to be a fan of her written work.
- The Gin Lovers by Jamie Brenner
- St. Martin's: 2013
- ISBN13: 9781250035936
- Paperback and ebook versions
Disclosure: This book was provided by the author and any opinions are my own.