~ About the Book ~
In Jazz Age Chicago, Dot Rodgers sells hats at Marshall Field while struggling to get her singing career off the ground. Independent and feisty, she’s the life of the party. But underneath the glitter, she doesn’t believe she’s worth the love of a good man. Why would a strong, upstanding man want to build a future with a shallow, good-time girl like her?
Small-town businessman Charlie Corrigan carries scars from the Great War. After all he’s been through, he wants nothing more than to marry and start a family. But the woman he loves is a flamboyant flapper with no intention of settling down. She’s used to a more glamorous life than he can offer. As his fortunes climb with the stock market, it seems he’s finally going to win her love. But what happens when it all comes crashing down?
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Series: #2 Roaring Twenties series
Release date: 13 March 2018
Publisher: Smitten Historical Romance
~ Excerpt ~
How had she ever believed she could make their romance work?
As the last note faded, she watched Charlie snake his way through the crowd to her.
“Time to go.” His voice was low but firm.
“Now?” She wanted to go on singing … singing so she didn’t have to feel anything other than the music. What was the point of leaving now, anyway? They’d blown dinner; they might as well enjoy the rest of the party.
“Now.” His voice crackled with exasperation. “We’ve rung in the New Year. What do you want to do, stay here all night?”
She felt her patience slip a bit. “If you’d relax a little and talk to a few people, maybe you’d start having some fun in spite of yourself.”
“Nobody here worth talking to. And what’s the deal with that guy?” He cast a sidelong glance toward Eddie.
Her patience slid another few notches. She set her chin. “I told you, he’s going to let me audition. Don’t be an old stick in the mud.”
His voice deepened like distant thunder. “Maybe it’s better if I just leave. You can find your own way home.”
“Fine,” Dot spat the word as her last drop of patience splattered on the floor. “Eddie will see me home. Won’t you, Eddie?”
Charlie flinched as though she’d struck him. The room rocked like she was seasick. What am I saying? No! I don’t want to be with Eddie. Don’t leave! But her mouth refused to form the words.
Eddie’s face lit up as if he’d won a longshot bet at the racetrack. “Yeah, sure, baby. I’ll make sure you get home safe.”
The flush on Charlie’s face deepened from pink to red. He started to say something, then turned on his heel and disappeared into the bedroom. A moment later, overcoat slung over his harm, he stormed out of the apartment. Dot watched in disbelief as the door slammed behind him. Every cell in her being wanted to run after him. But something she couldn’t name kept her feet frozen to the floor. Fastening on a bright, misery-masking smile, she turned to Eddie, who had begun reeling out some yarn about a close encounter with some famous musician. She only half listened. Where is Charlie going? Will he come back? She kept glancing at the door, willing it to crack open, willing everything to be all right.
~ Review ~
I fell in love with Dot Rodgers and Charlie Corrigan in You’re the Cream in My Coffee, and although Ain’t Misbehavin’ can be read as a stand-alone, I highly recommend starting with You’re the Cream in My Coffee so that you know where Charlie and Dot have come from to get to the opening of this story. If nothing else, you’ll have a better understanding of just how different they are in personality, background, and aspirations when they first meet. They’re a recipe for heartache, which initially made me a little hesitant to pick this book up, but despite the ups and downs in their relationship, this wasn’t an angst-ridden story. Rather, it was the engaging story of two young people who slowly but surely mature as they gain more experience in the world and learn from their mistakes.
Dot’s transformation was particularly satisfying. Having grown up with a charlatan preacher for a father, she has a warped understanding of Christianity—in fact, she’s rejected it completely since being thrown out of home and called a disgrace for her love of singing and performing. Her maturation happened so subtly and organically that I didn’t even notice it happening until I looked back and thought, “Look how far you’ve come, girl!”
As for Charlie, my heart went out to him. A veteran of the Great War, he’s already been rejected once. He’s such a gentle, steadfast soul, and he adores Dot, but they both have a bit of growing to do before their relationship will work. And that means more pain for him in the interim. *sigh*
Best of all, Jennifer Lamont Leo captures the essence of this era perfectly in the settings, the characters, and her writing. I’m looking forward to whatever comes next from this author.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Previous Book in the Series ~
~ About the Author ~
Award-winning author Jennifer Lamont Leo sometimes wishes she’d been born in an earlier era. So she does the next best thing: she reads and writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, You’re the Cream in My Coffee, received a 2017 ACFW Carol Award and a 2016 Grace Award.
You’re the Cream in My Coffee and its sequel, Ain’t Misbehavin’, are both clean, romantic stories set in Roaring Twenties Chicago.
Jennifer writes from her home in the mountains of northern Idaho, where she lives with her husband, two cats, and as much wildlife as she can attract. Passionate about history, she volunteers at a local history museum and writes history-themed articles for regional publications. She is also an editor, marketing copywriter, playwright, and blogger.