Review: The Wicked City

February 1, 2017 1920's, Beatriz Williams, book review, historical fiction, William Morrow 4

  • Written by:  Beatriz Williams
  • Published by: William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins, January 17, 2017
  • Length: 384 pages
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Source:  Purchased


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.

My Thoughts:

The Wicked City is a fun book, fun to read and think back about what life may have been like for a young woman in the early days of the 1920’s.  I love the clothes, the hair, the sneaking around to hidden clubs, and the music…it’s such a wonderful escape to read this book.  I loved Gin Kelly, heck I wanted to be Gin!  I admired how she got out of her hard life in Maryland, determined to have fun and do something else. Gin’s involvement with the Revenue agent gives us a behind the scenes look into bootlegging and smuggling liquor during Prohibition.  Gin is a woman with many admirers, the sexual excapades in her life are scandalous in the best of ways.  Her lifestyle was not for the faint of heart.

Ella deserves so much more than the cheat of a husband she left.  She’s enjoying the new tiny apartment, the hunky neighbor and yet there is so much turmoil and upheaval in her life.  We learn more about Ella’s family and these revelations teach us more about the families we’ve learned to love in Beatriz Williams‘ books.

I have to say this book really brought me such joy!  I flew through it and I’ll be picking up a couple of William’s books I’ve missed while waiting for her next book.  I believe I enjoyed this book as much as my first book by Williams, A Hundred Summers.  If you’ve never read her books, this is a wonderful place to start.


4 Responses to “Review: The Wicked City”

  1. sarahsbookshelvesblog

    That’s good to hear! I loved A Hundred Summers and it’s still one of my go-to beach read recommendations, but have been somewhat disappointed with every book that followed it…so I’ve stopped reading her. I wondered if she was publishing too often and the depth of her stories was disappearing in the rush.

    But, maybe it’s back?! I might try this one closer to summer.

  2. Silver's Reviews

    I always enjoy Beatriz Williams’ books.

    This is the only one I haven’t read so far.

    Thanks for your wonderful review. This book sounds quite good.

    Have a great weekend, and thanks for coming by my blog.

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