Publication Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Philomel Books
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.
She devises a plan to get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
Wow…. I mean wow…. This book was so captivating! This book is all about this quote from the book,”Decisions, they shape our destiny.” And this book tells you that in any given circumstance, whatever life deals you, in the end it’s YOUR choice of how you want to shape who you are and make your life.
The author was able to bring to life with the descriptions and vivid details of the New Orleans during a rough time. Not only did she barely touch on the “Uptown” families, she thoroughly devoted most of the book towards the underground and hidden slums of New Orleans in the 1950’s. Times and places we didn’t focus on during that time or realize were truly there. She was so descriptive I couldn’t put it down!
The main character Josie is an amazing character who always sought for something MORE from this life, she sought and new and better way of living. She is the seventeen-year old daughter of a French Quarter prostitute. She knew what she was surrounded with and knew it wasn’t right. She was able to “escape” through books as she works in a book store, and the kindness of others that sheltered her as best they could from what she could have easily succumbed to.
Josie (love the name) is smart and well read, independent, gutsy, even knows how to shoot a gun, witty. Josie also works at her mother’s brothel for Willie, the madam and cleans up the messes after parties and such. So Josie is exposed to that sort of life constantly and sees what that sort of life is.
I absolutely loved Willie even though she was rough around the edges. She’s ballsy and doesn’t take crap from nobody. Willie keeps her away from ever becoming a prostitute but also can’t see beyond her own world. I so badly wanted to know more about her and what was her story. You get to learn a little just enough to satisfy you but there is such and intense desire to know more about HER.
There’s also a whole slew of other characters that you just love Cokie, Willie’s driver, Patrick, Josie’s best friend and co-worker at the bookstore.
I loved this book. I really did. It was amazing and beautifully written and I thought it was tasteful especially when dealing with this topic and era.
Sexual Content: moderate/heavy
Language: moderate (I think.)