I read some amazing books in 2020 and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.
Today I am sharing my review from May 2020 for A Girl Like You (A Henrietta an Inspector Howard Novel Book 1) by award winning author Michelle Cox.
About the book
Henrietta Von Harmon works as a 26 girl at a corner bar on Chicago’s northwest side. It’s 1935, but things still aren’t looking up since the big crash and her father’s subsequent suicide, leaving Henrietta to care for her antagonistic mother and younger siblings. Henrietta is eventually persuaded to take a job as a taxi dancer at a local dance hall—and just when she’s beginning to enjoy herself, the floor matron turns up dead.
When aloof Inspector Clive Howard appears on the scene, Henrietta agrees to go undercover for him—and is plunged into Chicago’s grittier underworld. Meanwhile, she’s still busy playing mother hen to her younger siblings, as well as to pesky neighborhood boy Stanley, who believes himself in love with her and keeps popping up in the most unlikely places, determined to keep Henrietta safe—even from the Inspector, if need be. Despite his efforts, however, and his penchant for messing up the Inspector’s investigation, the lovely Henrietta and the impenetrable Inspector find themselves drawn to each other in most unsuitable ways.
My review for the book May 30th 2020
This is a book set in a dark time in American history with poverty a reality for millions. To survive and provide for their families, young women put on their dancing shoes and smiles to entertain men with a dance and a few minutes away from the worries of the day. However, there is always someone who is making a great deal of money from this form of exploitation and where there is money there are gangsters.
Despite being thrust in to this world, Henrietta is still coming to terms with her beauty and her sensuality, putting on the required airs and graces demanded in this kind of job, where there is a fine line between decency and more immoral practices. Her justification is that she needs to bring in more money to feed her younger brothers and sisters, far more money that can be made by working in the factories or even the local bar where she currently works for a kindly old man.
She also wants to help her friend Polly in her quest to discover what happened to her sister who went missing the year before at the notorious club the Marlowe which is a place of secrets. Drawn into the investigation by the attractive police inspector Howard, Henrietta finds herself in the middle of a dangerous game with unknown players who will stop at nothing to protect their businesses and their own evil intentions.
This is a romance with mystery and thriller elements that will appeal to readers across those genres. The author has done a very good job of recreating the environment of Chicago of the 1930s and characters that are interesting and have potential to develop in the follow up books in the series.
A good start to the series and I look forward to reading the follow up books.
Other books by Michelle Cox
About Michelle Cox
Michelle Cox is the author of the multiple award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. She suspects she may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, has resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting herself back there. Coincidentally, her books have been praised by Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and many others, so she might be on to something. Unbeknownst to most, Michelle hoards board games she doesn’t have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also marmalade.
Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have enjoyed my review and will explore Michelle Cox’s books for yourselves. Thanks Sally.