Thank you to Bookish First for my advanced copy.
What a page turner! "Wild Women and the Blues" is quite the ride you'll go on with Honoree, Bessie, and Sawyer. The last 50 pages I couldn't put the book down! I thought Denny S. Bryce's use of telling the story of the ghosts of our pasts through two points of views in 1925 and 2015 was used very well and made for a compelling read. The story is so much more than a historical novel centered around Chicago jazz clubs in the 1920s, but about love, forgiveness, the treatment and experiences of Black female dancers at these clubs in the '20s, and the troubles of getting mixed up with the Chicago mob scene.
I thought the use of having the two different story lines helped a lot in telling Honoree's story in a gripping way, but I felt it could've been just a tad stronger for Saywer as well. I understand he wasn't the main focus but I guess my biggest reason for only 4 stars instead of 5 was because ideas for his story were brought up and never fully finished (ie. his experiences with "ghosts"). The book is hopeful, heartbreaking at times, and suspenseful. It finishes up by teaching us love finds a way and forgiveness takes time.
I recommend this book very much, especially if you are curious about Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood in the 1920s. What's great is Bryce lists the non fiction books she used for her personal research at the end of the story.
TRIGGERS: abuse, gun violence, rape