The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard Creel (Amazon)
Rating: Very Good
Source: Blog Tour
Description: Motherless and destitute, Frieda Hope grows up during Prohibition determined to make a better life for herself and her sister, Bea. The girls are taken in by a kindly fisherman named Silver, and Frieda begins to feel at home whenever she is on the water. When Silver sells his fishing boat to WW1 veteran Sam Hicks, thinking Sam would be a fine husband for Frieda she's outraged. But Frieda manages to talk Sam into teaching her to repair boat engines instead, so she has a trade of her own and won't have to marry. Frieda quickly discovers that a mechanic's wages won't support Bea and Silver, so she joins a team of rumrunners, speeding into dangerous waters to transport illegal liquor. Frieda becomes swept up in the lucrative, risky work - and swept off her feet by a handsome Ivy Leaguer who's in it just for fun. As danger mounts and her own feelings threaten to drown her, can Frieda find her way back to solid ground - and to a love that will sustain her? (from Goodreads)
Genre: Fiction - Historical
Why I Picked This Book: I love this time period and seeing a woman take on not only the unusual role of boat mechanic but then rumrunner intrigued me!
My Impression:While the 1920s has always been one of my favorite time periods to fictionally visit I've normally stayed more on the high society end of it with the pretty clothes and the wild parties where the inside just maybe a bit rotten. Bootlegging is always mentioned and alcohol is always there but I've never really given much thought to the people behind the scenes who are making sure that Jay Gatsby can continue to provide enough gin for his guests.
But now that I've met Frieda Hope that will change a bit. From the moment we meet her as a serious little girl trying to be strong I immediately liked her. Throughout the book there were times that I wanted to reach out and shake her but I always felt like I understood her. Frieda has a lot of baggage and an enormous chip on her shoulder and all for pretty good reason. However, to the people she loves like her sister Bea and their adopted father Silver she is fiercely loyal. She's also incredibly determined to help her sister get a better education and through that a better life and provide security for herself. Compared to her the side characters are a little flat but not because they have no personality but more because Frieda has such a demanding one.
The actual business of rum running was absolutely fascinating and definitely kept me involved in the story. I ended up doing some outside reading to see how much of the events in this book were true (pretty much all of it) which is always a good sign! I really enjoyed this look behind the scenes of something that is frequently brushed over. This really had me seeing the reasons why usually law abiding people got involved in an illegal business and why some didn't and it really had me thinking about what I would have done in a similar situation.
I enjoyed getting to know Frieda and watching her grow up as well as seeing the world around her change. This was at times heartbreaking and at times action packed but consistently a good read! I'm looking forward to reading more from Ann Howard Creel
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! I'm looking forward to finding more books from her.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes! If you like historical fiction this is a great read.