Release Date: February 12, 2013
It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.
Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
"They thought I couldn't hear their whispers, their snickers. I had heard them for ten years. I cut across Conti toward Chartres, clutching my book under my arm. The vibration of my humming blocked out the sound. Courtesan, harlot, hooker, whore. I'd heard them all."
For someone who LOVES New Orleans as much as I do, it's impossible not to submerge yourself in this atmospheric background. That was admittedly my favorite part of the book: the historical French Quarter setting.
Josie has been dealt a hard hand in life. Being the daughter of a prostitute and being raised in a brothel is no easy task. And things get nothing but complicated from there. Determined to make a life for herself despite her background, Josie is saving money and trying to figure out her next step in life while keeping up with her responsibilities in the two jobs she has. But then a tourist is murdered and she is part of the investigation.
Such a richly layered plot. I can't even write how much there is to it without spoiling the novel. So many different aspects to the story, and yet somehow, they all fit together in a very realistic portrayal of the time and the city. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect at any point. I quickly realized that any conclusions I might draw at a certain moment would in no way match what was happening.
And to top it all off, wonderfully vivid characters and a very strong voice. Josie was full of strength and surprises. She was as unpredictable as the plot itself. She can lure you in and make her story count. From this point on Ruta Sepetys in an automatic buy for me, and it might be too soon to tell, but I honestly think this will be one of my top favorite books this year.