Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review: Last Night at the Blue Angel

Last Night at the Blue Angel
by Rebecca Rotert

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 336
Format: arc
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  It is the early 1960s, and Chicago is teeming with the tensions of the day segregation, sexual experimentation, the Cold War and Vietnam but it is also home to some of the country's most influential jazz. Naomi Hill, a singer at the Blue Angel club, has been poised on the brink of stardom for nearly ten years. But when her big break, the cover of Look magazine finally arrives, it carries with it an enormous personal cost. Sensual and magnetic, Naomi is a fiercely ambitious yet self-destructive woman whose charms tend to hurt those around her, and no one knows this better than her daughter, Sophia.

As the only child of a single mother growing up in an adult world, Sophia is wise beyond her years, a casualty of her mother's desperate struggle for fame and adoration. Unsettled by her home life, she harbors a terrible fear that her world could disappear at any moment, and compulsively maintains a list of everyday objects she might need to reinvent should nuclear catastrophe strike. Her only constant is the colorful and unconventional family that surrounds her and her mother, particularly the photographer, Jim, who is Sophia's best friend, surrogate father and protector but Jim is also deeply in love with Naomi.

Kritters Thoughts:  A historical fiction that had the time period and a city that I could read over and over again, but fell short for me.  Chicago is a city that feels like it doesn't get as much press as New York City, so I love to read fiction set in it as it is almost like a refreshing drink.

The part that fell flat for me was the secretiveness of the lesbian storyline and the pieces that I wish had been a little more obvious in the beginning.  The women that were helping Naomi raise Sophia were from her childhood and the reader didn't get their full stories until too late in the game to appreciate their roles in Sophia's upbringing.  I wish the reader had gotten a little more of that earlier in the book.  

The most interesting thing about this book was how the narratives of the mother interweaved with each other and how similar they would end up because of the hard childhoods they each had.  It was a quest to find the similarities and think about how Naomi's childhood was interpreted in how she was raising Sophia.  Maybe without some of the parts I didn't love as much, I would want more.  

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.


Back to Top