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Wild Women and the Blues

Wild Women and the Blues

Book - 2021
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1925: Chicago is the jazz capital of the world, and the Dreamland Café is the ritziest black-and-tan club in town. Honoree Dalcour, a sharecropper's daughter, is willing to work hard and dance every night on her way to the top. She's socializing with celebrities, but with the temptations of bootleg whiskey, gambling, and gangsters a young woman driven by ambition might risk more than she can stand to lose. 2015: Film student Sawyer Hayes arrives at the bedside of 110-year-old Honoree Dalcour. He has rested all his hope on this frail but formidable woman, the only living link to the legendary Oscar Micheaux. If she can fill in the blanks in his research, perhaps he can complete his thesis and begin a new chapter in his life. As Honoree reveals her past and her secrets, Sawyer fights tooth and nail to keep his. -- adapted from back cover
Publisher: New York, NY : Kensington Publishing Corp., [2021]
ISBN: 9781496730084
1496730089
Branch Call Number: F BRYCE-D
Characteristics: 377 pages ; 21 cm

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ArapahoeJulia Apr 26, 2021

Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S Bryce transported me to 1920s Chicago, a scene filled with dancing, jazz, and plenty of intrigue. This historical fiction debut was fantastic!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Bryce brilliantly intertwines two timelines, 1920s Chicago and the modern-day windy city. This is a captivating story of loss, fame, and the friends that we choose as family. This story centers around Honoree Dalcour, an up-and-coming chorus girl who is rubbing shoulders with the likes of legends Louis and Lil Armstrong and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. Yet amidst the glitz and the glam there is also trouble in the form of bootleg booze and mobsters who want things done their way. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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In the present day we meet Sawyer, a film student who hopes to unearth a lost Micheaux film with the help of 110-year-old Honoree. While the pair starts uncovering the past, both Honoree and Sawyer reveal more personal secrets than they planned to and find themselves re-living the passion and poignancy that existed during this historic moment in time.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I loved this book. I felt so immersed in Honoree's world and connected to the company she chose to keep. It was fascinating learning more about the 1920s and Bryce did a beautiful job weaving historical relevance throughout a heartfelt narrative. This book was also so unique and important for how it gave voice to the black experience during this culturally impactful time period.

I highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction who love a good mystery that spans decades. There is also plenty of drama, beautiful outfits, and love (in many forms) that surpasses time.

r
RosaReads2
Apr 02, 2021

My ultimate desire before starting this book was that the story would equal the STUNNING book cover! In a few ways, yes, but with some caveats.

Wild Women and the Blues was a split-time novel set in both 1925 and 2015. While I enjoy dual timelines and discovering the connections between the two, I also like them to work together seamlessly. For the first 30% of this story, I wasn't thrilled with the first person/present tense narrative of the 2015 setting and these chapters often slowed down the story's progression. I liked Sawyer and that he was a male protagonist, but his POV would sometimes irk me in it's casualness and familiarity. For example, when Sawyer talks directly to the reader, "By the way, I'm like this, because I don't like flying." Ugh. It takes me right out of the story. Honoree's historical setting was written in 3rd person/past tense and the shift between the two narratives could be distracting. It probably didn't help that 1st person/present is my least favorite narrative style and 3rd person/past is my favorite.

Honoree's chapters in the past were stronger and more interesting than present day. There was a sense of urgency to her story that kept the it moving at a swift pace. Overall, this author had a much stronger voice in 3rd person. While I struggled to empathize with Sawyer, I was much more invested in Honoree's outcome. There were a couple time-frame issues and I wasn't fully invested in the romance, but I did really like the historical setting and story arc. This book could have scrapped Sawyer's chapters and further developed Honoree's in order to create an even more compelling historical fiction novel focused on a time and place not often read about. I also would have loved to have felt more emotionally attached to the romance between Honoree and Ezekiel.

I felt both narratives could have been developed more to create a more immersive overall story, but it did surprise me a couple of times and in the end, I was entertained.

b
brangwinn
Mar 30, 2021

The beautiful cover will draw you in, the story will keep you reading. Honoree Dalcour, the daughter of a sharecropper who went to Chicago in 1925. Honoree, a chorus girl at a speakeasy finds herself mixed up in a mob murder and must escape to live. Now reminiscing at age 101 in a she shares her story with a graduate student researching filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, Sawyer, the young researcher things Honoree can help him track down a missing film created by Micheaux. Along the way are clues suggesting another connection between the old lady and the researcher. This is an excellent debut novel.

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