About The Wicked City• Hardcover: 384 pages • Publisher: William Morrow (January 17, 2017) 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. . . .
This is my 2nd Beatriz Williams in as many weeks and I can definitely say she's going to be a go-to author for me from now on. This is a dual time line story with newly separated from her husband Ella finding her way in a tiny Greenwich Village apartment with neighbors that treat each other more like family in modern day alternating with street smart and daring Gin Kelly caught in a sticky situation in the 1920s. Williams did a brilliant job at really making the story lines feel like they're in completely different time periods. Ella's story is cleaner - more modern while there's a grit to Gin's and just feels like it's taking place in the dark and smoky speak easies that she frequents. The women are also completely different with Ella trying to avoid the unpleasantness she's left behind and Gin is much more of a take no prisoners kind of woman. While I enjoyed both I think I preferred Ella's story. I liked her and found her easy to connect with while Gin had a much rougher time of it and it felt so real that I felt like I was right there with her. As an added treat I really enjoyed checking in with the Marshall family and meeting Teresa's (the main character in a previous book - A Certain Age) son Billy. If you enjoy historical fiction you simply must read Beatriz Williams and this is a great place to start! My Rating: Very Good