It is 1924. Prim, plain Rose Baker lives in a boarding house in Brooklyn. She spends her days typing police interrogation reports in a Lower East side precinct. While her work days are filled with stories of shootings, stabbings and robberies, the most exciting thing in her personal life is whether the boarding house stew will be beef or chicken tonight. Rose’s regimented, predictable life begins to fall apart when Odalie Lazar is hired for the precinct typing pool.
Odalie is everything Rose is not; she is stylish, sophisticated, and she has a mysterious past. At first, Rose is indignant as she watches Odalie weave her spell over everyone in the precinct but when Odalie asks her to lunch, Rose is at first surprised, then suspicious, and ultimately flattered. When she accepts Odalie’s invitation to move into her luxurious hotel suite, Rose is seduced by the jewelry, furs, fine clothes, and champagne that characterize the Manhattan speakeasy life of the 1920s. Her diary entries chronicle both her obsession with Odalie, as well as her increasing inability to stop.
Suzanne Rindell, wrote this debut novel while a graduate student majoring in English Literature at Rice University. She easily draws the reader in with a story of a woman losing control of her life and her mind, set against a colorful description of the prohibition era. This seminal work demonstrates enough plot twists and turns to keep the reader turning pages long into the night. Look for more books from this new author. Highly recommended.
LINDA LINDSEY DAVIS is a contributing editor of LitChat. See her complete bio here.