Josie Moraine lives a – well – unusual life. She adores books, and works, and lives, in a local bookstore. She also cleans the house where her mother lives – notorious Madame Willie Woodley’s house.
Yes, this means Josie’s mother is a prostitute. Josie definitely does not want to follow in her mother’s footsteps, but after getting involved in a local police investigation of a murder, she’s not sure if she has any other options.
She dreams of leaving the Big Easy, but will she be stuck in New Orleans forever?
My 16-year-old daughter recommended author Ruta Sepetys to me. She’s an excellent author, and this book has some twists I did not expect. A couple of times I felt uncomfortable that my 16yo had read this book before me. As you can imagine, a book with a brothel as a main setting can be vulgar at times. Nothing explicit, but certainly implied. Overall, I think Sepetys dealt with the prostitution/brothel bit very appropriately for a young adult novel. If such things make you uncomfortable, I’d recommend reading this book before your teen.
The reason I’m glad my daughter read this book is because it shows the heartbreak of life in a brothel, of foolish people, of childhood friendships which last a lifetime no matter where people end up. It also gives hope of doing what’s right even when the whole world expects you to do wrong.
Recommended for ages 16 and up.