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When I started Romancing the Rumrunner by Michelle McLean, I was a little worry. I know I say that often, but I felt it was a little at the beginning. At the same time I was curious on how the story was go. I guess you can say I was sucked in. Of course, that's a good thing.
Anyway, I love the idea of the story's setting taking place in Chicago in the 1920s. I mean a lot is going on during that time. You have gangsters, prohibition, and all the other stuff that's associated with the 1920s. So, that's what really draw me to the story.
In Romancing the Rumrunner, we meet Jessica Harlan (Jessie) whose trying to keep things afloat, but it's a tad bit difficult. After all she has a thug wanting his payment, because her father took a loan. She's left with a butcher shop that's barely meeting her needs, so she decides to open a speakeasy until everything is back in the black. However, a couple problems: the feds and other club owners.
Next we meet Anthony Solomn (Tony). Now Tony use to be a detective until one incident, which caused him to get blackball. Now he's a private investigator, but he has a chance for redemption if he's able to catch the person named Phoenix, and his only lead is Jessie.
I actually enjoyed the story, because both characters don't really trust one another. Of course their trust issues stem from previous relationships. Gotta love that. I liked both characters. Both of them have good hearts. Tony lives with the guilt from the past and he figures finding the rumrunner is a good start to fix his life. Jessie trying to make ends meet and keep her head afloat. I like that she's not simpering. She has a pretty good on her shoulder. All in all Romancing the Rumrunner is a pretty good read. I like that it's takes place in the 20s, you have a little romance and danger.
I really enjoyed how Romancing the Rumrunner transported me back the 1920s Chicago. The dialogue, descriptions, prohibition feelings, everything hit the right historical note. I liked how Jessica was a strong heroine struggling to run a butcher shop after her father died and a speak easy in order to pay off a debt to a mobster. When P.I Tony gets involved to bring down the Red Phoenix thinking she's her girlfriend it all gets complicated.
Tony a former fed is enticed to go undercover and get back his reputation after a bungled sting operation ended his law enforcement career. He didn't expect to get romantically involved with Jessica but of course it happens. I really wanted to give this book 5 stars as it is an enjoyable read, but some of the actions from both Jessica and Tony didn't work for me. Tony said he was going to listen to his instincts this time and he didn't. Jessica showed him where she hid her booze, why? At times it seems hormones clouded their brains. I also thought Tony didn't do the investigating enough. Romance took up much of the story.
If you are for a fun historical read set in the prohibition era with a side of steamy romance then this is the book for you.
It's a lady running a speakeasy and a P.I. determined to haul her in...thinking that she's really a he named The Red Phoenix.
She needs to keep her show running in order to pay off her dead father's debts, and he needs to bring her down to get in the Police Force's good graces again. What a conundrum! Is there really any way for either one to come out on top?
I liked this story. It was an easy, uncomplicated read. I think there could have been more meat to it though. And I did expect a lady rumrunner to be a bit tougher.
What I liked was how the heroine realized being sexy/sensual is okay. She becomes aware of her own power.
"There was something incredibly empowering about striking a man dumb."
She grows in confidence too, thanks to singing onstage. I'm not sure if this was intended to be a big deal, but for some reason this really came off the page for me.
As the story continued though, some things began to irritate me or not sit well with me. Some of the things she does are just not explained, make no sense. Letting Tony into her booze room. How incredibly stupid. Her continuing to sing at his club when it becomes obvious she's not going to get anything out of it as far as "scoping the competition". On the contrary, she's hurting her own business. Her apparent unconcern with money one moment, then slumping with exhaustion the next because she's doing too much in order to pay back a mobster.
But what I really hated above all is how Tony got on her case for singing too sexy. To me, he implied that because of her sexy, sultry singing--which he'd warned her not to do--is the reason a man nearly attacks her. Like she's asking for it. He even warns her not to sing that way anymore, or he'll react.
Until that point, I actually liked Tony. This was a hero-killer for me.
Also disappointing to me is...well, she's a singer and she's up there singing sultry tunes... WHAT is she singing? I personally love the music and lyrics from the twenties and would have loved to have known what she was singing. Lyrics from those days, they are public domain, so share them with us! If you can't for some reason, make some up!
It also didn't have a strong twenties feel to it. Yea, they wear dresses with fringe, headbands, and sing in speakeasies, but beyond that...
Whether you love all things 20s or have never given the era a second thought, you MUST read this book. Ms. McLean's ability to draw the reader in is particularly impressive considering the extent to which the setting has been romanticized by film. I love Rumrunner's version, where the sultry, sexy vibe is alive and well, but then we get to see what's behind the scenes. That's perhaps the most unique aspect of this book--it has an authentic feel that draws the characters off the page...not so much into the reader's world, but to welcome the reader into theirs. And oh, what a place to be. Oh, THE FEELS. The romance was sweet and to die for. The ending was...sigh. The HEA was utterly delicious and then the heroine did this THING for someone close to the hero and OMG I cried like a baby. My husband was giving me the side-eye but I just didn't care. It was a beautiful moment that just made an already amazing book unforgettable. Romancing the Rumrunner earns an easy 5 stars that puts this author on my auto-buy list. Definitely give this one a chance!
I thought the premises of the book was brilliant. I just did not like the execution. I thought the book was too short for the storyline. There were a few typographical errors. And it might just be a personal hang up of mine but I believe that not all things are fixable. I think my biggest dislike if this story is that I thought the hero and heroine had betrayed each other too much to be fixable. And then the fix was way too short and not brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
I absolutely adored this book! The characters, the plot, the setting, the romance--it all blended into an amazing story that I simply couldn't put down. The writing was superb, engaging, and completely perfect. I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long while--it earned every one of its five stars. Ms. McLean nailed the era, drawing me in with her rich descriptions and enthralling hero and heroine. I will definitely be re-reading Romancing the Rumrunner and can't recommend it high enough! READ THIS BOOK!!!
This is the first romance I've read in this time period (prohibition-era) and I wasn't disappointed. Michelle McLean does a great job crafting sympathetic, dynamic characters in Jessie and Tony as well as an interesting story line in an underused era to go along with them. Her writing style reads effortlessly, like a conversation between friends. All in all, an enjoyable, fast-paced love story.