Wild Women and the Blues explores the life of Honoree Dalcour, a dancer at various jazz clubs and cafés in the 1920s, and the life of Sawyer Hayes, an aspiring documentary film-maker in 2015. When Sawyer interviews a 105 year-old Honoree for his documentary, she is reluctant to participate- after all, she's not even sure she can recall much of what's happened in her life. Throughout their time together, however, Sawyer and Honoree discover new things about their own lives, and the lives of each other, through brilliant story-telling.
I must say, this book didn't go where I thought it was going to go. It ended up with a very mysterious aspect of the story, (especially for a book marketed as historical fiction) but I was here for it, and enjoyed it more because of this. It was also darker than I expected, exploring prohibition in Chicago, gangs, violence, and even rape. However, integrating concepts into the book ended up making for a much more evocative story, giving the reader more to contemplate.
Most of the characters were well-developed, multi-faceted people. However, I wasn't a huge fan of Sawyer's character, he seemed very one-sided, like he didn't have a whole lot to contribute. Much of his character was built around grief, (while I understand this is important as part of the story, it didn't have to be so grief-central, I feel like I didn't know almost anything about Sawyer other than that he was sad about the death of his sister).
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but I will admit that it took me about 150 pages to get into it. Until then, it seemed a bit slow, it was hard to continue reading in the beginning. After this, though, it was a fun, thoughtful, and well-constructed story. I was enjoying it until the very last few pages, which felt sort of anti-climatic. I just felt like the additional epilogue wasn't necessary, it didn't contribute anything.
Overall, I would recommend this book if you want a great historical fiction read, and give it about 100 pages to get into it.
The writing was beautiful, the characters were well-constructed, this book was a pleasure to read.