Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Out Of The Easy - Ruta Sepety; Review.

Book Details:
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Puffin (7 Mar 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0141347333
ISBN-13: 978-0141347332

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. 

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

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Okay picture this. 1:02am. I’ve just been shooed out the room by my sister, who doesn’t want me to have the reading lamp on since she’s trying to sleep. In a fake fit of anger, (‘cause really, who can stay mad at someone who’s shouting you while eating noodles) I’ve grabbed the nearest book on my desk, a blanket and headed to the living room. I opened the book.

“My mother’s a prostitute. Not the filthy, streetwalking kind. She’s actually quite pretty, fairly well spoken, and has lovely clothes. But she sleeps with men for money or gifts, and according to the dictionary, that makes her a prostitute.”

Fast forward 3 hours later, it’s 4:23am and I’m frantically writing this review silently from my bunk bed, in an effort to encapsulate all the energy and soft smiles falling from my lips. Out of the Easy took me by surprise. If you had told me that I’d end up loving a book set in New Orleans, 1950, historical fiction, I’d probably politely smile at you and roll my eyes.

But here I am. After having read Between Shades Of Gray, I knew already that Sepety's had magic on her hands - and I wasn't wrong. When I was sent this for review, of course I squealed delightedly but I was somewhat sceptical on how I'm going to like this book. Because I wanted to. But why was I even worried?

Sepety's had me from the first line - I'm an absolute sucker for catchy and unique opening lines and this is probably one of my favourites. Aside from her fluid writing that makes it so easy for too to immerse in the detail of the places and scenarios she's describing, she brings to you her best asset - her characters and there was no shortage of them in Out Of the Easy.

Set against the nitty gritty French Quarters of New Orlenas, she brings to us Josie - smart, witty, grounded. Daughter of a prostitute, spending her time with an array of colourful scantily clad ladies - and determined not to follow in their footsteps. Add in Willie - the hard marshmallow who runs the house like a whip and a tongue like a knife - but a heart to melt better. I loved Willie and knew I'd be rooting for the whole way through. There was no shortage of romance either, throw in Jesse - the strong, striking mysterious blue gazed boy who silently watches and waits on Josie. *le sigh*

I couldn't put this book down. Sepety's had me wrapped around her finger with the amazing characters, atmospheric setting and hint of mystery that follows us through the book - begging the almost Cludeo -esqueue question - "who did it?"

But more than all that, what captured me was the bookstore Josie worked in and the cute guessing game she played with her friend Patrick. I've always dreamed of one day owning my own bookstore or at least working in one, and the way Sepety's portrayed Marlowe's store had me giddy with happiness.

I really didn't think I'd love this book as much as I do. Do I wish there was more? Of course. I'd love to have gotten more in to detail about Jesse's life, seen some more sparks fly between them – but I’ll take what I can get, and hope to see more from Sepety’s soon.
Thank you Penguin for this absolute gem.

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