The year 1900 ushers in a new century and the promise of social change, and women rise together toward equality. Yet rules and restrictions remain, especially for women like Alice Butterworth, whose husband has abruptly disappeared. Desperate to make a living for herself and the child she carries, Alice leaves Chicago far behind, offering sewing lessons at a New Orleans orphanage.
Constance Halstead, a young widow, has thrown herself into charitable work. Meeting Alice at the orphanage, she offers lodging in exchange for Alice’s help creating a gown for the Leap Year ball of Les Mystérieuses, the first all-female krewe of Mardi Gras. During Leap Years, women have the rare opportunity to take control in their interactions with men, and upend social convention. Piece by piece, the breathtaking gown takes shape, becoming a symbol of strength for both women.
But Constance carries a burden that makes it impossible to feel truly free. Her husband, Benton, whose death remains a dangerous mystery, was deep in debt to the Black Hand, the vicious gangsters who controlled New Orleans’s notorious Storyville district. Benton’s death has not satisfied them. And as the Mardi Gras festivities reach their fruition, a secret emerges that will cement the bond between Alice and Constance even as it threatens the lives they’re building . . .
Alice’s husband has disappeared. She is in dire straits. She is pregnant and has no source of income. She ends up traveling to New Orleans because of an overheard conversation about a needed seamstress. She takes a leap of faith and ends up in the home of Constance Halstead. But, everything is not as it seems and Alice may be taking a huge risk.
Jessica Marchbank is the narrator of this audiobook. And to be honest, I am not sure if she is the reason I gave this novel a 3 star rating or if it was the story itself. I found this narrator a bit too dramatic and too soft in her tone. Usually narrators do not bother me much. But, she just did not sit well with me.
The story itself is pretty good. It is a bit far fetched in the outcome. And I found it a bit contrived. But, I did enjoy the time period and the setting of New Orleans in the early 1900s.
Need a good historical fiction with some strong women characters…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!
I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.