Tuesday, September 27, 2016

REVIEW: You're the Cream in My Coffee

You're the Cream in My Coffee
By: Jennifer Lamont Leo

Genre: Women's Fiction, Contemporary Women, Christian, (Romance)
Publisher: Smitten Historical Romance
Publication date: 9.15.2016
Pages: 292

Recommended by: Electively Paige, Read 2 Review
Date read: 9.17.2016

You're looking at the genre and wondering what in the world I was thinking, aren't you?  I know, I know - me and romance books are like pickle juice and chocolate chip cookies.  The cover caught my attention, though, and the storyline seemed pretty interesting.  

The story is set in the roaring 20s (though there wasn't much talk of that, or much description either, minus the fact that prohibition was going on, the word "speakeasy" was used a few times, and their fashion choices) in the city of Chicago.  Marjorie is a girl that needs to find herself and figure out what to do with her life, so when she bumps into who she swears is her ex-boyfriend, who died in the war, and spends a couple of days enjoying the art museum, she decides to stay in the city instead of heading back home to her small town, her family... and her fiance.

I really enjoyed this book... and actually had a hard time putting it down.  I liked Marjorie quite a bit, even though she was a bit of a goody-goody and was very set in her Christian ways.  Her new friend, Dot, who she met at work in Chicago, is the complete opposite of her, and they both learn a lot from each other as the story goes on.

Helen (Marjorie's sister) and Charlie (their brother) were both well-written characters, who grew in these pages, but Pop... he was my favorite.  There wasn't much of him in the story, but when there was, he was exactly what Marjorie needed.

I consider this book more historical fiction and mystery than I do women's fiction, but I can see why the author chose to justify it as such, what with the mystery of Marjorie's future being discussed, and some of the things that her and Dot went through in the story.  Finding out just who Peter was took Marjorie on an adventure (filled with inner turmoil) that gave the story more depth than I originally had expected.

Definitely a good story that I would highly recommend if you like those coming-of-age type things.  Do keep in mind that there are some Christian points to the story.  Marjorie and her family come from a God-fearing, church-going small town and there is a lot of speak of God, which I happened to enjoy.

Back to the topic of that book cover catching my eye.  I wish it had actually depicted one of the two main characters.  I had that girl (on the photo) in mind, but never once did what they were wearing ever coincide with that.  I think, had the cover artist used the yellow hat or the blue gown (to find out more you have to actually read the story), it would have really tied that in more and gave me an aha moment (besides when the title was used in the story).

I absolutely loved the descriptions of working in the department store and all that she did there.  What fun, and though not completely historically accurate with this particular store at this particular time, the author's description is pretty spot-on with things I have read.

About the book:
In 1928, Chicago rocks to the rhythm of the Jazz Age, and Prohibition is in full swing.  Small-town girl Marjorie Corrigan, visiting the city for the first time, has sworn that coffee's the strongest drink that will pass her lips.  But her quiet, orderly life turns topsy-turvy when she spots her high school sweetheart - presumed killed in the Great War - alive and well in a train station.  Suddenly everything is up for grabs.
            Although the stranger insists he's not who she thinks he is, Marjorie becomes obsessed with finding out the truth.  To the dismay of her fiance and family, she moves to the city and takes a job at a department store so she can spy on him.  Meanwhile, the glittering world of her roommate, Dot, begins to look awfully enticing - especially when the object of her obsession seems to be part of that world.  Is it really so terrible to bob her hair and shorten her skirt?  To visit a speakeasy?  Just for a cup of coffee, of course.
            But what about her scruples?  What about the successful young doctor to whom she's engaged, who keeps begging her to come back where she belongs?  And what, exactly, is going on at the store's loading dock so late at night?
            Amid a whirlwind of trials and temptations, Marjorie must make a choice.  Will the mystery man prove to be the cream in her coffee - the missing ingredient to the life she yearns for?  Or will he leave only bitterness in her heart?

About the author:
Jennifer Lamont Leo writes from her home in the mountains of northern Idaho, where she lives with her husband, two cats, and as much wildlife as she can attract.  Passionate about history, she volunteers at a local history museum and writes history-themed articles for regular publications.  She is also a playwright, blogger, and marketing copywriter.  You're the Cream in My Coffee is her first novel.  You can visit her website here.

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