By Ruta Sepetys
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
Philomel Books, 346 pages
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.
- From Goodreads
This is my first time reading anything by Ruta Sepetys. I've heard about her, mostly because everyone on Goodreads RAVES about her first novel, Between Shades of Gray, which is on my list, I just haven't gotten to it yet. But I think I'll be bumping it up because wow, you guys, Sepetys can write a book!
Out of the Easy tells the story of Josie Moraine, the daughter of a prostitute in New Orleans. By mornings she is the personal attendant to Willie, one of the most famous brothel owners in the French Quarter. By afternoon, she is a shop girl at a bookstore. After meeting Forest Hearne and imagining him to be the father she never knew (mostly because of their shared love of Dickens), she is devastated when she finds out that he was murdered that evening. Who did it, no one knows, but everyone can smell foul play.
Josie's tale is entangled around the murder of Forest Hearne and because of that, the story is extremely engaging. There was never a dull moment and I was anxious the entire way through waiting to read who the killer was, if Josie's mom would ever shape up, if Willie would ever tell Josie she knew what was going on the entire time, or if Jesse would finally kiss her already.
From what I've read, this book is a 180 from Between Shades of Gray. Some people didn't think it lived up to Sepetys first book, but I disagree, even without having read it yet. What is it if an author doesn't step out and try new things? I loved this novel and recommend it if you love compelling novels with strong female leads.