What I really love about this novel, well aside from the fact that the author captures the post WWI era perfectly, is that her characters are multidimensional. It’s not the often reworked scenario where the flapper has a heart of gold, but that Gwendolyn Smith has a deep interior life.
The saddest thing was Gwen’s early life. She was abandoned by her mother, befriended by Hugh Phelps, an older man who purported to be father-like, but used her incredible singing ability to make a lot of money for himself. He controlled and intimidated her, holding her emotionally and financially captive, and even physically abused her on occasion.
Jacob Hessman doesn’t have a way with women. From what I gathered in backstory, he had his heart and his pride smashed to smithereens in the previous novel in the series. I started with this novel because I like the Roaring Twenties era so much. He completely misreads Gwen when she actually physically runs into him at the St. Paul train station as she frantically tries to find a train she can board to run away from Phelps. She follows Jacob onto a train and to a small town where he helps her partially out of Christian kindness and partially out of an intense instant attraction.
This novel is well worth the read. I recommend it to anyone who loves the 1920s era in American history as much as I do.