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Speakeasy Paperback – February 18, 2016

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ingold's warm-hearted debut is set in Prohibition-Era New York City that's more gentle than gritty. After Heath Johnson graduates from Yale, his socialite family is ready to immediately guide him into a traditional marriage and a junior position in his father's Wall Street firm. But his college friends Frankie and Julian, on a hunch that something else might suit him better, connect Heath to a speakeasy for men who are interested in men. He begins a secret romance with proprietor and bartender Art while his parents are distracted by his sister's upcoming nuptials. To play it safe, he also introduces them to Ginny, a young woman willing to pose as Heath's beau. Ingold writes both collegial masculinity and the generation gap well, and her text is peppered with just enough period slang to give flavor without feeling contrived. Scenes of the secret city, stolen kisses in closed subway stations, and hidden doors in the backs of barbershops add a sense of adventure without wildness—Ingold's heroes, except for their orientation, are relatively mainstream young men. (Feb.)\n

About the Author

Suzey Ingold is a writer, linguist and coffee addict, currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Brought up in a household where children's books are quoted over the dinner table, literature has always had a strong influence on her life. She enjoys traveling, scented candles and brunch. Her short story, The Willow Weeps for Us, was included in Summer Love, an LGBTQ Collection published by Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press (2015).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Interlude Press (February 18, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1941530699
  • ISBN-13: 978-1941530696
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,393,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are many things I liked about this one including the fact that every character was perfectly drawn given what was expected considering his or her background and the time in which the novel took place.

Heath was the quintessential spoiled upper East Side trust fund brat, and my feelings toward him did not warm up until the last part, and even then I didn't feel sorry for the mess he'd made for himself. His best friend Frankie was a perfect example of how rich Southern boys never went back home after Yale, but his dedication to Heath never crossed the straight-gay border. It was touching.

Heath's father, the "Duke," was the perfect Wall Street jerk. I would like to know what happened to him in 1929, a year after this book ended. His mother, the "Duchess," was mercilessly drawn, her status-driven life totally uncomplicated by a brain. His sister Amelia was the female equivalent of a twit, and redeemed herself somewhat as the plot went on.

But this was Art's book, even though there wasn't a single chapter which focused on him. The book is written in the third person but presented from Heath's viewpoint all the way, and it suffered somewhat because of that. Art and his associates Alfie, Jerry, Julian (also Heath's formerly close friend), and Edward (who comes to play a major, and what might be considered an unbelievable, role, but not so much if you know the temper of the times), were a family of their own, and I totally enjoyed any part of the book in which they and Heath interacted.

Although I thought the cover was extremely clever in depicting the art deco world of the 1920s in New York, I found that it actually distracted me from imagining what Art and Heath really looked like.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Heath has just graduated Yale. His parents have his life planned. They want him to work for his father and get married and have children to carry on their name. They even have a sweet girl they like chosen for him. They are giving him a choice of his job, but he has to choose after the summer. His friend Frankie takes him out to celebrate his birthday. He thinks he has found a place perfect for Heath. It is a speakeasy for like-minded men like Heath. Though Frankie brought him there to meet up with Heaths college crush Julian, Heath quickly fell for the owner. In a time of prohibition and when it’s dangerous for gay men can have this relationship last or will Heath choose to follow his parent’s wishes.

Speak Easy a beautifully written story of the prohibition eras which is my favorite historical period. Suzy Ingold does an excellent job giving the book that nostalgic feel. Speak Easy is character driven as we follow Heath through his summer and his decisions. It’s very clean with no sex, but a beautiful, bittersweet romance with a satisfying ending.

If you like the 1920 prohibition era, coming of age, new adult, clean stories, I think you will like this one!

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through [...] *
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Format: Kindle Edition
3.75 out of 5 Stars
For original review, please visit the Prism Book Alliance® blog online.
SPEAKEASY is set in New York City, in the summer of 1927, and basically tells the story of 21 year old Heath Johnson, in particular, how he is finally growing up and becoming his own person.

He’s come home from finishing his studies at Yale and his parents expect him to start working in his father’s firm and to marry a nice young woman, but while Heath knows that he wants neither, he can’t quite figure out what it is that he wants to do with his life.

But he’s still got the summer ahead of him.

His dear friend Frankie introduces him to the TJ, an underground speakeasy, in which not only alcohol is served but which has become a haven and family for gay men of the time, and where he meets the owner Art. It is so wonderfully romantic and sweet how these two fall in love with each other and was just lovely <3

I was pretty much in book heaven until the 80% mark because the book has an interesting, atmospheric, and realistic setting, the characters are well-crafted, even the secondary ones, the language is beautiful, and the romance even more so.
I thought it was extraordinary how fast and deeply I cared for Heath.
The author has an eye for details without getting overly descriptive, and I think she’s really talented in how she brings the story alive. I also really loved her choice of a third person, present tense narration.

But… I think even before the 80% mark I started to wonder why Heath wasn’t facing his problems, like, at all. To give you a clearer picture:

Heath always avoids the path of conflict or complication, allows himself to be guided by his parents and their expectations and is suggestible to a fault.
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Format: Paperback
Heath is a young man in a wealthy family just back form his graduation from Yale. His father’s pushing him toward a job in investment banking, with his own firm, but Heath’s been resistant. He’s negotiated a last summer of freedom before he chooses a job and settles down, and he’s playing chaperone to his younger sister Amelia as she decides on a husband. His parents, affectionately known as the Duke and Duchess of their social circle, are also pushing Heath to marry a girl.

Heath’s known for a long time that he’s not interested in women, and copping to a sham marriage is not something he’s willing to do. He’s a romantic at heart, and longs to fall for someone who’d love him back ardently. His best friend from college knows this, and brings Heath to a speakeasy that caters to men who favor men. I should mention here that speakeasies were illegal bars run in the period of Prohibition in the US–during the 1920s when liquor production and sale was illegal. It’s a whirlwind experience for Heath, especially as Heath’s nature is to acquiesce to his parents’ desires. Seeing men being free with their affection lights Heath in fire in a number of ways, not all of them positive. He’s fairly gobsmacked.

He does return, however, and he strikes up a friendship with Art, owner of TJ, the speakeasy that blows Heath’s mind. During the course of the summer Heath and Art become very close, Heath imagining a life spent with the man who is winning his heart, but all good things are not happening. There is constant pressure from Heath’s parents to settle on a job and a wife, and Heath’s attempts at subterfuge are not sufficient to afford him freedom. And, ever present is the possibility of discovery, not just of TJ, but of Art, and exactly what Heath wants to do with him.
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