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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce- Feature and Review



A Fascinating and Innovative Novel of Historical Fiction

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In a stirring and impeccably researched novel of Jazz-age Chicago in all its vibrant life, two stories intertwine nearly a hundred years apart, as a chorus girl and a film student deal with loss, forgiveness, and love…in all its joy, sadness, and imperfections.


“Why would I talk to you about my life? I don't know you, and even if I did, I don't tell my story to just any boy with long hair, who probably smokes weed.You wanna hear about me. You gotta tell me something about you. To make this worth my while.”

In a stirring and impeccably researched novel of Jazz-age Chicago in all its vibrant life, two stories intertwine nearly a hundred years apart, as a chorus girl and a film student deal with loss, forgiveness, and love…in all its joy, sadness, and imperfections.

“Why would I talk to you about my life? I don't know you, and even if I did, I don't tell my story to just any boy with long hair, who probably smokes weed.You wanna hear about me. You gotta tell me something about you. To make this worth my while.”


1925: Chicago is the jazz capital of the world, and the Dreamland Café is the ritziest black-and-tan club in town. Honoree Dalcour is a sharecropper’s daughter, willing to work hard and dance every night on her way to the top. Dreamland offers a path to the good life, socializing with celebrities like Louis Armstrong and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. But Chicago is also awash in bootleg whiskey, gambling, and gangsters. And 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, still reeling from a devastating loss that has taken him right to the brink. Sawyer has rested all his hope on this frail but formidable woman, the only living link to the legendary Oscar Micheaux. If he’s right—if she can fill in the blanks in his research, perhaps he can complete his thesis and begin a new chapter in his life. But the links Honoree makes are not ones he’s expecting . . .

Piece by piece, Honoree reveals her past and her secrets, while Sawyer fights tooth and nail to keep his. It’s a story of courage and ambition, hot jazz and illicit passions. And as past meets present, for Honoree, it’s a final chance to be truly heard and seen before it’s too late. No matter the cost . . .

LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:





 MY REVIEW:


 Wild Women and the Blues

Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce is a 2021 Kensington publication.

I love the jazz age!

This debut novel, set in 1925 Chicago, is centered around Honoree Dalcour and the Dreamland Café- a high-end black and tan club- and Sawyer Hayes, circa 2015- a film student- haunted by the loss of his sister.

Sawyer finds some photographs belonging to his grandmother, which sends him on a quest to find Honoree Dalcour, a woman now in her 110th year of life.

As Sawyer slowly coaxes Honoree's memories to the surface, an amazing story unfolds revealing a 1920s saga full of crime drama, heartbreak, and romance. While Sawyer feels there is a connection there somewhere with his family, the truth is far more shocking than he bargained for.

I loved this book! The author has created complex characters, as well as an authentic atmosphere to create a well -rounded historical mystery and drama, which spotlights black filmmakers and stars of the era. Naturally, with the book set in the twenties, there was plenty of crime drama involving the mob and illegal substances… and murder.

As usual, for me, the historical segments are what truly made the story sparkle. The contemporary storyline is a means to an end, for the most part, but there are some compelling emotional pulls to Sawyer’s side of the story, for a more well-rounded tale. Several characters taking part in the story, were actual filmmakers, movie stars, and performers of the day, making the story even more interesting.

This is an exceptional view of the Chicago Jazz age, from the position of black people, juxtaposing the glamour of the decade against the powerful criminal elements that held a tight gripe on the era.

The story also highlights the power of friendships and love, while the mystery is tense and suspenseful!

Overall, I truly enjoyed this book! It is a compelling story set in one of my favorite historical time periods, but is written from a fresh perspective. There were several historical elements I was unfamiliar with, which sent me on a Googling frenzy on a quest to find out more about the real- life characters featured in this book. I’d also like to mention the fabulous cover on this book- I love twenties fashions!

An impressive debut novel for Bryce- hope to hear more from her in the future!

GRAB A COPY HERE:



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




An award-winning author, Denny won the RWA Golden Heart® and was a three-time GH finalist, including twice for WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES. She also writes book reviews for NPR Books and entertainment articles for FROLIC Media.

The former professional dancer is a public relations professional who spent over two decades, running her marketing and event management firm. For nearly 10 of those years, however, she wrote and read Buffy/Spike fan fiction. A devoted fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Angel (the TV series), she is also a classic film buff and loves genre TV. Current favorites include A Discovery of Witches; This is Us, The Flash, and Seal Team.

She is represented by Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Associates. A member of the Historical Novel Society, Women's Fiction Writers Association, and Novelists, Inc., she is a frequent speaker at author events and lives in Northern Virginia.



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