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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Last Night At The Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert - Book Blog Tour Stop and Review


Last Night at the Blue Angel

About Last Night at the Blue Angel

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 14, 2015)

Set against the turbulence of 1960s Chicago—a city in transformation—and its legendary jazz scene, Last Night at the Blue Angel is a lush and immensely heartfelt mother-daughter tale about a talented but troubled singer’s relationship with her precocious ten-year-old daughter.

 It is the early 1960s, and Chicago is teeming with the tensions of the day—segregation, sexual experimentation, the Cold War and Vietnam—but it is also home to some of the country’s most influential jazz. Naomi Hill, a singer at the Blue Angel club, has been poised on the brink of stardom for nearly ten years. But when her big break, the cover of Look magazine, finally arrives, it carries with it an enormous personal cost. Sensual and magnetic, Naomi is a fiercely ambitious yet self-destructive woman whose charms tend to hurt those around her, and no one knows this better than her daughter, Sophia.
 
As the only child of a single mother growing up in an adult world, Sophia is wise beyond her years, a casualty of her mother’s desperate struggle for fame and adoration. Unsettled by her home life, she harbors a terrible fear that her world could disappear at any moment, and compulsively maintains a list of everyday objects she might need to reinvent should nuclear catastrophe strike. Her only constant is the colorful and unconventional family that surrounds her and her mother, particularly the photographer, Jim, who is Sophia’s best friend, surrogate father, and protector—but Jim is also deeply in love with Naomi.
 
Weaving between the perspectives of Sophia and Naomi, Last Night at the Blue Angel is a poignant and unforgettable story about what happens when our passion for the life we want is at sharp odds with the life we have. Part stylish period piece, part heartbreaking family drama, it’s a novel rife with revelations, a vivid and propulsive page-turner—and the major debut of an extraordinary new writer.
 
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An emotionally charged story told from the viewpoints of mother and daughter, "Last Night At The Blue Angel" is a fascinating look at a world-weary jazz singer's life and how her daughter sees the same world through  fresher, younger eyes.

Author Rebecca Rotert captures the reader's attention from the very first as she guides the journey through the haze of a smoky jazz-filled life of heartache, disappointment, misery, and pain. But there are also moments of joy and laughter and love mixed into the story as well. You can certainly tell that the author has musical experience - she paints the world of singers and clubs with startling accuracy. The characters are captivating, and the tale itself is unforgettable.
 
A word of warning - there are some explicit scenes woven into the story, but are there to keep the tension driving the tale. Readers just should be aware of them.
 
I enjoyed "Last Night At The Blue Angel." As Rotert's debut novel, it is a strong showing. I look forward to more of her writing in the future.
 

About Rebecca Rotert:

Rebecca Rotert

Rebecca Rotert received an M.A. in literature from Hollins College, where she was the recipient of the Academy of American Poets prize. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and other publications. She’s also an experienced singer and songwriter, who has performed with several bands, and a teacher with the Nebraska Writers Collective. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska. This is her first novel.

Find out more about Rebecca at her website and follow her on Twitter.


My thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour and for providing the review copy. I was not compensated for my opinion.



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