Monday, February 3, 2014

The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

This is the SheReads February Book of the Month.   Each month SheReads chooses a book and then their team of bloggers read and post their reviews during the month.  

They say behind every great man, there's a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the judge's wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge's bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband's recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall leaders and the city's most notorious gangster, Owney "The Killer" Madden.

On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulate about the judge's involvement in wide-scale political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears without a trace. Or does he?

After 39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what she knows. Sliding into a plush leather banquette at Club Abbey, the site of many absinthe-soaked affairs and the judge's favorite watering hole back in the day, Stella orders two whiskeys on the rocks-one for her and one in honor of her missing husband. Stirring the ice cubes in the lowball glass, Stella begins to tell a tale-of greed, lust, and deceit. As the novel unfolds and the women slyly break out of their prescribed roles, it becomes clear that each knows more than she has initially let on.

My review:

The three main ladies in this story are absolutely amazing.   Each character was fully developed and made to be real in their own ways. None appeared to be more or less involved than the others.   Each character had her own story to tell and secrets that were kept.  Arial Lawhon did an excellent job with these characters.

Some of the dialogue dragged a little bit for me in some places, but I still found myself having to know what would happen.  Would all the secrets come out and the disappearance of the judge solved?  I actually could not stop reading, staying up late to finish this book.
The time period of this book is one my favorites to read about.   The jazz, the smoking of cigarettes, and the prohibition are all things I associate with the 1930’s and enjoy learning more about and learning how people lived during these times.   I found it especially captivating that each of the women in this book are from a different station in life.   The classy and well to do wife, the hard working chorus line dancer, and the lowly maid and seamstress, but yet each told their story with class and knowledge of the world they lived in.   Each characters story gave the reader a glimpse into a different part of the 1930’s. 

I would recommend this book and will be looking for more to read by Arial Lawhon.

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1 comment:

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