Out of the Easy
by Ruta Sepetys
“We all laced together—a brothel madam, an English professor, a mute cook, a quadroon cabbie, and me, the girl carrying a bucket of lies and throwing them like confetti.”
Josie Moraine is the daughter of a prostitute in 1950s New Orleans, but she will not let that define her. Her mother is shallow, cruel and thoughtless, so Josie finds family elsewhere: the savvy, ball-busting madam of the most famous whorehouse in the city, a mixed race cab driver named Cokie, the owner of a bookstore where she works and his son. When her mother's old flame returns to town and a man is murdered, Josie struggles against her background to get out of New Orleans and find a promising future. But will the past drag her down?
Quick and dirty review: I loved this book. The characters were so complex and well-drawn. The world of 1950s New Orleans was so rich! And the plot always kept me guessing. I was a little dissatisfied with the ending, but it did not spoil my enjoyment of Josie, her friends or her fight to forge a new life for herself. The language is beautiful without feeling unnatural. Josie has a smart, direct, yet soulful voice. I highly recommend this book!