Palmer, Alyssa Linn. “Midnight at the Orpheus”, Bold Strokes Books, 2015.
Struggling to Survive
Set in the Roaring Twenties, Cecilia Mills is new to town and struggling to survive. This changes when she falls for gangster Franky Greco’s moll Nell Prescott and soon they two are in a clandestine relationship. Thanks to Nell, Cecilia got a job working a the Orpheus Dance Hall and is soon called CeeCee. Soon she meets both the elite of the city and gangsters. She and Nell keep what they have with each other secret.
Patrick Sheridan has just been released from prison and is determined to get revenge on those who put him there. He becomes CeeCee’s bodyguard and even though she is in love with Nell, she and Sheridan fall in love.
As you can tell from the description I have given here, this is a novel that is propelled by its characters and it is too bad they were not better developed. There was so much more I wanted to know about them—especially CeeCee who should have been but does not come across as an exciting character. She seemed to be just there as a way to get things moving but as a character herself, we do not know much about her. In contrast to the other main characters, Nell and Sheridan, she is quite a bore. We know that Sheridan wants revenge and that keeps him going; Nell was also well developed although we do not learn much about her past.
Author Palmer has a knack for description and we really feel we are back in the 20s however it would have been interesting to read about where lesbians at that time fit in society. I can’t say anymore about the plot without giving something away but I will say that I see Palmer as a promising writer who has just not found the way to arrive. When she does I am sure we all be stunned.