Friday, February 8, 2013
ARC Review: Out of the Easy
Philomel Books, 2013
Scheduled for February 13
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
So I knew this was set in New Orleans but I didn't realize it was historical, set in 1950. Other surprises included the setting of a brothel and menacing mobsters. Our heroine is Josie Moraine, daughter of a prostitute, who has pulled away from her mother, earning an honest living at a bookstore and dreaming about a college education away from the town where everyone knows she's a prostitute's daughter. But she also cleans the rooms of the brothel and is deeply reluctantly attached to the madam, the canny Willie and the other women in the house.
When a visiting prominent Tennessean businessman is killed in the French Quarter, Josie mourns, having met the sweet guy at the bookstore. What she doesn't expect is the role that her mother may have played in his murder nor the crooked people who are involved nor the actions it may force her to take.
I don't know how to properly explain my feelings about this book. I'll admit that I didn't enter it with the highest expectations. Yes, Sepetys had already scored with her excellently personal Between Shades of Grey but who thought she'd do it again with such a different story? Plus the South and the 1950s have never been among my favorite reading topics. But this book was absolutely amazing. I kept saying to myself, "I'll just read one more chapter..." until I reached the end and there was no more.
I think most of the credit goes to the delightfully sensitive Josie. Although she's been let down by her good-for-nothing selfish mother and essentially nonexistent father, she has acquired a family of her own including the aforementioned Willie, other workers at the brothel, her bookstore coworker Patrick, and local mechanic and hottie Jesse. I also admired Josie's ambition and drive--she's worked hard for everything she has in life, sometimes against impossible odds without losing her principles and sense of self.
Now I did receive an ARC, which may explain why the chronology of a few scenes felt off. Some pieces of information were explained after when they were actually need earlier. I will need to consult a finished copy to see if this was remedied.
Content warning: Well, it is partially set in a brothel but it's pretty clean actually.
Overall: You NEED to read this book-seriously!