1920s

A-
The Manhattan Girls

Gill Paul’s multi-faceted look at a group of world-shaking real life female best friends whose wit, skill and wisdom will change countless lives definitely has a lot of pep. The Manhattan Girls sports snappy dialogue and a fun sense of time and place. New York City, 1920. Reviewer, poet and sat ...

B+
Last Call at the Nightingale

Last Call at the Nightingale combines authentic-feeling prohibition era period detail with a heroine who’s easy to love, a unique cast of supporting characters, and a genuinely surprising mystery. It’s 1924, we’re in New York City, and bisexual Irish immigrant Vivian Kelly sews at a dress s ...

A-
In the Face of the Sun

In the Face of the Sun is an engrossing family saga filled with heartbreak and love, victory, forgiveness, and loss, and a wonderful character study of several unforgettable women. It is 1968, and a pregnant Frankie Saunders is leaving Chicago, abandoning an abusive marriage to the violent, contr ...

C
The Lost Son

The Lost Son is a very straightforward women’s fiction novel centering around - you guessed it - a woman’s quest to find her missing child. Julia Kruse’s mother died in childbirth. Her father, a famous chef at a luxury hotel, fears his demanding job will keep him from spending time with his ...

A-
Proper Scoundrels

Allie Therin’s Magic and Manhattan series concluded earlier this year with Wonderstruck, leaving Rory and Arthur in a good place, disposing of the evil Baron Zeppler and nicely tying up the major plotlines.  Despite a few quibbles, I enjoyed all three books, so I was pleased to learn the author w ...

A+
Our Violent Ends

I have been blown away.  Chloe Gong set a high bar with These Violent Delights, a 1920s fantasy version of Romeo and Juliet which transports the story’s action to Shanghai.  Our Violent Ends is the first book’s equal.  Gong’s talent remains unstinting.  You need to read this book. It’ ...

C
Bright Ruined Things

Transporting Shakespeare’s The Tempest into a 1920s setting and retrofitting the story into one of an established blood family versus a found one is not an easy feat – and its one Samantha Cohoe attempts with limited success in Bright Ruined Things. The tension in the mystery plot is palpable an ...

D-
A Blues Singer to Redeem Him

The blurb for A Blues Singer to Redeem Him, promising a perilous interracial romance between the son of a Mafioso and a blues singer in a Jazz Age speakeasy amid the looming threat of the KKK, earned this title an instant high place on my TBR.  Sadly, it failed to live up to my expectations in almo ...

C-
The Show Girl

The Show Girl is my greatest disappointment of 2021 thus far – well, in terms of reading anyway.  Presenting us with a memorable heroine, it plunges her into the dullest, most predictable Ladies Home Journal plot I’ve ever read in my life, leading to obvious conclusions and dull let-downs all a ...

B-
At Summer's End

At Summer’s End is a lovely historical novel with a sense of fresh purpose.  It’s both a careful portrait of the pageantry of life in the 1920s and a lovely drama capturing the mores and manners of the era.  Ellis knows how to give us glossy soap, and glossy soap we are given.  Unfortunately, ...