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Random House LLC
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The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 322 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a great concept that I really enjoy! While I was intrigued by the storyline and how many of the characters, especially the ones from the title (Stella, Maria and Ritzi, respectively) the jumping around of the timeline was very erratic and really slowed down my reading progress. I don’t mind a bit of back and forth in time frames but this wasn’t consistent and tended to be confusing. Great story but a bit erratic makes it a 3 star read for me.
Apparently, this still unsolved crime was a huge story when it happened - in both hard news and the gossip rags. Many theories surrounded Crater's disappearance, which is easy to imagine given the cast of characters in his life (gangsters, prostitutes, Broadway showgirls, and various other crooked characters). These characters, along with Stella (his wife), Ritzi (his mistress), and Maria (his maid), also lend themselves to a great story! Some are real people from the case and that time in NYC and some are fictional characters that the author included as composites of multiple people or for the purpose of the narrative. The "Author's Note" at the end of the book clearly lays out what/who is real vs. fiction, but I recommend saving it until after you've read the story - it makes it more fun!
The story builds slowly at first, setting the scene, allowing the reader to get to know the characters, and really making you feel that time period in NYC. Once I hit the halfway point, I couldn't put it down! Lawhon expertly releases bits of information at the perfect times and I was dying to know how everything fit together. However, I was thankful that she didn't rush things because the initial focus on the time period and characters added more power to the story in the end.
The women, particularly Stella, Ritzi, and Maria, are smart and just as willing as the men to "do what they have to" to survive. And, every one of them has their own reasons for their actions. I also enjoyed learning about NYC politics in 1930, specifically the corrupt reign of Tammany Hall, which these three women were not afraid to come up against.
The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress is a page turning story of backstabbing, corruption, and survival set against an intriguing time period - and it's a FUN read! It would also make a great book club selection.
For more reviews, check out my blog, Sarah's Book Shelves.
Well, what a total surprise. And a complete treat. I had no idea the tale was based on a real story, but was intrigued by the cast of characters both real and fictionalized. All were presented as truly human, with dark and sinister sides, gossip and failings, good hearts and sometimes lost intentions. The story played out like an old movie screen in my head, and wonderfully.
I dinged the story a star, giving it 4 instead of 5, because it was a bit slow out of the gate. But I stuck with it, recognizing something in the storytelling that grabbed a hold of me and that I couldn't refuse. If you're into historical fiction, this one's for you.
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