Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dollface by Renee Rosen

4 Star

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.

Lydia - 4 Star

I love all things twenties. I’m obsessed with Boardwalk Empire, fascinated by mobsters, and love anything flapper and am fervently wishing hats would come back in fashion. So, it would have been very hard for me not to love Dollface. I enjoyed reading about Vera’s life from rags to riches and innocent, naïve girl to independent go-getter wife and mother. The period, the drama and the emotion made this novel great for me.

Vera’s journey was an interesting one and is one that can translate across time. Good girl falls for bad boy and is left to survive his ways or leave into the unknown. What ramped up the tension to this age-old story was that she has not only one, but two bad boys and that her lovers are mobsters in rival gangs. Pitted against each other, Vera finds herself often caught in the middle and unsure of who she wants to be with.

Reading this, one can only assume things are going to end badly in one way or another as mobster dealings often do. Knowing what I did about the era, I deduced that things may work out well for Vera and her family and this made the tension even higher as I flipped through pages to find out what would happen. 

Taut with emotion, grim with violence and vivid in detail, Dollface explores the twenties in full mobster and glitter fashion contrasted against her old life. I found her new ‘family’ interesting to read about, even though I thought they were slightly crazy at times, and I enjoyed her relationship with her mother and how she gradually comes to appreciate all her mother had accomplished.  

I think this one would make a great movie!

Thank you to NAL Trade for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

Connect with Renee Rosen:
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