The Wicked City

Morrow. Jan. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9780062405029. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062405036. F
In 1998, after six years of marriage, Ella Hawthorne walks out after catching her husband cheating. Finding a pleasant and affordable apartment on Christopher Street in New York's Greenwich Village feels lucky until building super Hector warns her that at night the basement sounds like a jazz club no longer there. Back in 1924, Geneva "Ginger" Kelly flees to New York City from the hills of western Maryland to escape her abusive stepfather Duke Kelly. Approaching the flapper in the Christopher Club, Special Agent Oliver Anson wants Ginger's help in breaking Duke's network of bootleg whisky; Ginger knows what she needs to do. Best-selling author Williams (A Certain Age; A Hundred Summers) again shows her mastery of creating two stories in distinct time periods. The dual time line, with connecting threads, builds suspense while readers get acquainted with key, and charming, characters. Historically accurate and entertaining details of the Roaring Twenties might outshine the more recognizable Nineties, but both tales provide an intriguing mystery and a budding, swoon-worthy romance. Not all questions are answered, leaving the possibility of a series wide open.
VERDICT A smart suggestion for fans of strong female characters, historical fiction, and family sagas. [See Prepub Alert, 8/1/16.]

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