Denny S. Bryce transports readers back in time to the Roaring Twenties in her new novel, Wild Women and the Blues. The past and present collide for a suspenseful story full of booze, jazz, crime, and discovery.
In 2015, Sawyer Hayes is a young film student whose thesis on the 1920s filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux, was put on hold after tragedy. His hope is vested in 110-year-old Honoree Dalcour, the only person alive who has personally met the filmmaker. In 1925, Honoree is a chorus girl who dreams of dancing at the Dreamland Café, the hottest nightclub in the city. With her talent and beauty, she is confident she will be able to move up from her lesser-known club to one visited by the likes of Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway. However, Honoree accidentally dances deep into the world of organized crime and racketeering. This sticky web is difficult to get out of and as the story goes on, the web gets even thicker and more dangerous.
This story shifts back and forth from 2015 to 1925. Sawyer’s portions are 1st person while Honoree’s are in 3rd. Bryce does not have Honoree narrate her past and some of the information about her is discovered through Sawyer’s research. It is through Sawyer’s narrative where readers will feel the weight of his discoveries and see how he is attempting to adjust to a new life. His main focus is finishing his thesis and everything in his narrative is driven by this goal. Information about his past and relationships with others are only given if they relate to his project or what happened one year prior.
My initial perception of Honoree evolved as Bryce slowly removed the wall Honoree had built to protect herself and survive on her own in the city. I was drawn to the return of her lost love, Ezekiel. While the beginnings of their relationship and who they were as people before 1925 is not shared in great detail, Bryce is still able to show how they’ve changed in their years apart. As they get reacquainted, there is the question of whether the people they are today will be as in love as the people they used to be.
I enjoyed reading the popular phrases of the time period and especially enjoyed Bryce’s portrayal of real public figures. I felt as awestruck reading about them as Honoree felt when she’d met them and loved how normal they seemed. I recommend this sensational story for readers interested in historical fiction, crime, and the 1920s.
Let me know in the comment what you thought of this story or if there is anything you find interesting about the 1920s!