Sunday, January 07, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams

Ella visited the laundry room for the first time at half past six on the Saturday morning at the beginning of March. ~ Opening of The Wicked City



Wicked City by Beatriz Williams
William Morrow, 2017
Fiction (Historical); 366 pgs

I have a couple of Beatriz Williams books in my TBR collection, and when I saw the tour for The Wicked City come up a few months ago, I decided to use it as an excuse to finally give her work a try. I have always enjoyed historical fiction, but seem to be reading it more and more in the last few years. This one particularly appealed to be because of the setting: New York during the Prohibition.

I enjoy dual timeline novels featuring a contemporary story as well as a historical one. The historical stories often draw me in the most, and it was no different with The Wicked City. I did find the contemporary story line—set about a decade ago—compelling as well. Ella is renting a studio apartment in The Village, having just left her cheating husband. The building in which she lives is an old one with quite a bit of character. Sometimes at night one can hear jazz music playing, which Ella convinces herself is her neighbor, Hector, a musician and carpenter, but even that explanation doesn’t quite seem to fit. Back in the 1920’s during Prohibition, the building next door housed a speakeasy which Ginger Kelly frequented. Ginger Kelly had left home to strike out on her own at a young age, wanting to escape her stepfather. As the novel unfolds, the reader gets a closer look into Ginger Kelly’s life. Gin has not had it easy, but she makes the most of what she does have. One night, after being arrested, a bureau man offers her a deal. Agent Anson is after a big fish and he believes Ginger can help him catch his prey.

Gin is such a fun character. She’s got charisma and grit. She lives her life pretty loose, but it is obvious she is smart and resourceful. Initially when her character was introduced, it took me a moment to settle into Gin’s narrative. She had the vernacular of the 1920’s and I wanted to get the voice just right in my mind as I read. Gin is pretty street-wise and not one to take anything sitting down even when the odds are against her. I loved that about her. Her more modern counterpart, Ella, is less sure of herself, but should not be counted out. Her story definitely takes second stage to Gin’s, but I found myself just as interested in Ella as Gin, wanting to know what she would decide about her marriage and how everything would play out. In many ways, Gin’s story seemed more complete than Ella’s by the end of the book. I still have questions regarding Gin, but so much more was left in the air with Ella. One of my favorite scenes in the novel is when Ella confronts her husband, Patrick. It was a beautiful moment in which Ella finally lets out some of that anger she has been bottling up. I am also very curious about her job as a forensic accountant—I can see why she loves it. While numbers are not really my thing, I do like solving puzzles, not to mention a good mystery, and it sounds like her job can hold a lot of that.

The apartment building on Christopher Street is a bit of a character itself. I liked the way the author describes the building in the contemporary timeline—the reader gets the sense of the importance of its history, which, of course, we see some of in the historical story line. Hector is very much a part of the building. He’s a kind and observant man, not to mention easy of the eyes from the sounds of it. He seems like the kind of person one his friends can rely on and trust with their life.

I had little idea what to expect in this novel, and it was always surprising me. There’s a bit of a love triangle, some action, and a lot of intrigue. I understand this is going to be the first in a series, which I am a little relieved about given some threads of the story were left loose just enough to have me wishing I knew what had happened after I reached the end. That isn’t to say the novel has a cliffhanger ending—it doesn’t really and can be read as a stand alone. I thoroughly enjoyed The Wicked City and my time spent with both Gin and Ella. I really like Beatriz Williams writing style, and I always enjoy seeing how an author will bring her dual timelines together. I will definitely be reading more by Beatriz Williams in the near future.




Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links: websiteFacebookTwitter, and Instagram


I hope you will check out what others had to say about The Wicked City on the TLC Book Tours route!


Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour.  Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review.





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36 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good read! I like historical fiction too, though I don't read that much of it, so I'll have to put this on my TBR list(:

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    1. Eustacia - This one is a lot of fun. I hope the rumors of a series are true because I would love to revisit these characters.

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  2. Definitely adding The Wicked City to my list! Thanks for the heads up, Wendy!

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    1. Jenclair - I hope you like this one if you give it a try. I understand some say this isn't the author's strongest book, and if that's so I even more want to read more by her. I really enjoyed this one.

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  3. I've mostly loved Williams' work so I bet I'd love this too!

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    1. Kathy - That is good to hear. I can't wait to read more of her work.

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  4. I absolutely love her work. I haven't read this one yet but hope to get to it.

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    1. Karen - I can see why you love her work. I look forward to reading more by her.

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  5. I see her name all the time. I'm glad that she lives up to the exposure. I am also a big fan of historical fiction. And this sounds like a good time period.

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    1. Lloyd - I am glad I finally got a chance to try one of her books. I really enjoy this time period.

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  6. I discovered Beatriz Williams in 2017 and really fell in love! Honestly though this wasn’t my favorite. Too much was open ended or something I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the problem was exactly. I mean it was still good - just not a favorite! Have you read Cocoa Beach? There are some loose connections to this one.

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    1. Katherine - This is my first by Williams. I will definitely check out Cocoa Beach.

      The loose threads, especially where Ella is concerned was my only issue with the novel. Since Ive heard this is just the first book in a series I'm willing to let that go. But, yeah, I do hope we get some closure in the near future.

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  7. I love this era of time and this does sound like something I would enjoy. I was just sent another book from this author, so I am Happy to see her writing is really good. Great review, I am going to have to keep my eye open for this one too.

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    1. Jenea - It's such an interesting time period, isn't it? I hope you enjoy the book of hers you have. I definitely plan to read more by Williams in the near future.

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  8. A book I've missed. Thank you for the review.

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    1. Mystica - If you read it, I hope you like it!

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  9. I still have not read any of Beatriz Williams' books but hopefully that'll change this year. This sounds like a great historical novel!

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    1. Iliana - I hope you get a chance to. I enjoy her writing--at least with this one. I can't wait to read more by her.

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  10. The Wicked City sounds good and I like that NY Prohibition setting. Glad you enjoyed this one!

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    1. Naida - I enjoyed it and hope you will too if you give it a try!

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  11. I have heard really good things about Beatriz Williams but have not read any of her work yet. I am so glad you enjoyed this one.

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    1. Carole - It sounds like I have a lot to look forward to as I explore her other books.

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  12. I've been a fan since I read her first book. Glad this was a good read for you.

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    1. Verushka - I am so glad I finally gave her a try!

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  14. I keep seeing this book everywhere and it does sounds interesting to me, what with the setting and all. :)

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    1. Melody - It is a good one. I hope you get a chance to read it, Melody!

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  15. I felt pretty much the same way you did about this one! I too thought that there were some loose threads which was surprising for an established author, but now that you tell me that it's part of a series, it makes more sense.

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    1. Laura - Hopefully the rumors are true about it being a series because I would like a few things to be wrapped up more neatly. I am glad you enjoyed this one too.

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  16. I didn't realize Wicked City was the first of a planned series. I enjoyed your review Wendy.

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  17. Sounds like this series is off to a fabulous start!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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    1. Heather - I am glad I had the chance to read this one!

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  18. I've read one of her books but not this one. I didn't realize she was going to start a series!

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    1. Stacy - That's the rumor anyway. I hope it is true!

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