Author: Renee Rosen
Publication date: November 5th, 2013
Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
America in the 1920s was a country alive with the wild fun of jazz, speakeasies, and a new kind of woman--the flapper.
Vera Abramowitz is determined to leave her gritty childhood behind and live a more exciting life, one that her mother never dreamed of. Bobbing her hair and showing her knees, the lipsticked beauty dazzles, doing the Charleston in nightclubs and earning the nickname "Dollface."
As the ultimate flapper, Vera captures the attention of two high rollers, a handsome nightclub owner and a sexy gambler. On their arms, she gains entrée into a world filled with bootleg bourbon, wailing jazz, and money to burn. She thinks her biggest problem is choosing between them until the truth comes out. Her two lovers are really mobsters from rival gangs during Chicago's infamous Beer Wars, a battle Al Capone refuses to lose.
The heady life she's living is an illusion resting on a bedrock of crime and violence unlike anything the country has ever seen before. When the good times come to an end, Vera becomes entangled in everything from bootlegging to murder. And as men from both gangs fall around her, Vera must put together the pieces of her shattered life, as Chicago hurtles toward one of the most infamous days in its history, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
I received a physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
I have always said I would never find a historical fiction book that involved romance that I actually liked. Most of them seem to be what I call "bodice rippers" with Fabio types on the cover whisking them women away in an age I have no hopes of finding relevant to my own life. However, I have always had a fondness for the 20's and thought being dragged into the world of flappers and mobsters would be an amazing read. Which is why I made a point to get a hold of the publisher in hopes of reviewing this book as soon as I could. Luckily they took a chance on me and sent me the book.
Vera's world was filled with working constantly just to stay afloat. She is living in a rooming house with her best friend, Evelyn, and all she can think of is finding a way of never chasing the almighty buck. She wants to be comfortable and escape her past where her father was murdered and dismembered and her mother was forced to take over the family business in a man's world. She watched her mother's struggles and swore she would never have that life.
Enter Shep Green. He is a smooth-talking rich nightclub owner who wanders into Vera's world and shows her the life she always dreamed possible. She was all set to picture a future with Shep until the fateful night she realizes Shep is more than just a nightclub owner. He is a gun-toting member of the North Side Gang. After seeing what a gang did to her father, she had no desire to get involved with such a man.
Then comes Tony Liolli. He is passionate and wild. He is everything Shep wasn't. He doesn't treat her like a doll (to which Shep hammers such a thing home by called Vera "Dollface"). Their romance is a lusty tangle of sex and all the excitement Vera had longed for. She continues things with Tony even after Shep's persistent attempts to win Vera back finally cause her resolve to falter. Come to find out, Tony is also a gangster... a gangster of Shep's rivals, the South Side Gang.
Now Vera is torn between two rivals wondering who she could make a life with. The passionate gambler who causes her heart to race or the steady nightclub owner who could protect her from anything that threatens her safety. Little does Vera know that her love life is the least of her worries. The life of a gun moll is dangerous and her life is hanging in the balance.
I didn't know I would find this book as appealing as I did. I found Vera's nievity to be a bit irritating at times and I wished she would stop flip-flopping between the two men, pick a side, or walk away. Her constant dancing between the two men made me want to shake her (as does must love triangles). I found I liked Tony a bit more than Shep. I was rooting for Tony all the way and while I hoped Vera would just get out of the mobster life, I was intrigued by the entire world. I knew a bit about the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and the working of Al Capone, I didn't know the specifics and this was a great history lesson on top of a great romance.
All in all, I really liked this book. I think anyone who wants to learn about Al Capone, the roaring 20's, or just wants an usual love triangle that doesn't involve vampires and werewolves, will love this book.
Dollface is a story with a sweet name but a bloody story line rooted in reality.