Night and Day by Rowan Speedwell

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

NightandDayLGNight and Day by Rowan Speedwell
Release Date: March 9, 2016
Pages: 52 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon • ARe

2nd Edition

Nate Pederowski is about as far down as he can go when he’s tipped to a job as a singer in a speakeasy. Dishonorably discharged for being queer, broke and homeless during the Great Depression, Nate is embittered and lonely. The club’s handsome owner, Rick Bellevue, and his sister Corinna are wowed by Nate’s voice and offer him the job.

But the Starlight Lounge is much more than an ordinary supper club, and Rick and his sister much more than just the owners. It’s not ’til Nate gets caught up in a gangster’s plot that he discovers just what secrets they’re hiding. Nate’s life is going to change in ways he can scarcely imagine, let alone believe.

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010, in the Myths and Magic: Legends of Love anthology.

four-stars

Wow. This was not what I was expecting and that is a good thing. Though I should have paid attention to the above note on it being a second edition and where it was first published, I am glad I glossed over that and just enjoyed the story as it presented itself.

From the dedication of the book I felt emotion and a connection but once I got into the story, I kinda got sucked in and transported back to the 1930’s and the world of speakeasies, prohibition and the mob.

Told from the POV of Nathan “Nate” Pederowski, we meet him as he is auditioning for a gig as a singer for the Starlight Lounge.  Nathan is down on his luck; dirty, hungry and in need of the basics to stay alive when a friend and manager tells him about the job. When Nate walks in and nails his audition with singing a bittersweet song, he is thrust in to the post-Depression world of the lounge life and into the strange relationship of the brother and sister duo who own the club.

From the beginning you know this story is different. There is a feeling, an uneasy and yet unrelenting feeling that though something is not as it seems, you need to know what it is.

 

“How the hell did I end up here?”

“Because you belong here…”

 

This story has a dream like quality. Maybe it’s the way it’s told, second person present tense, or maybe it’s the unique quality of the characters, either way it’s engaging and different than what I expect.

I thoroughly liked, Nate. His backstory is heartbreaking and I was not prepared for the feelings I got with such a short story and yet there were there punching me in the chest. I liked Nate and how he liked Rick and I liked that Rick was a man who could set the sheet on fire… *nods* Oh … Rick and Coco, our brother/sister team are magical, for lack of a better word and while you begin to realize just what they actually are, the story takes a twisted turn and I felt Nate’s reaction.

Once you’re in the music, you can open your eyes, but you don’t see anything; you’re blind with love and passion. It’s as pure as a homecoming, as hot as sex; it’s everything you need and have lost and found again. You let the passion burn through you until there’s nothing left, and the notes of the song drain from you whatever has been keeping you on your feet …

On a personal note, the music for me in this book was lovely, it reminded me of listening to jazz, big band and crooners with my father. His musical taste is something that stuck with me from the young age he first shared it opening my eyes, to today as a woman in her late 30’s. The music, it made me miss my dad who passed away 17 years ago this February but it made me cherish the all too inadequate time I had with him.

About Rowan Speedwell

An unrepentant biblioholic, Rowan Speedwell spends half her time pretending to be a law librarian, half her time pretending to be a database manager, half her time pretending to be a fifteenth-century Aragonese noblewoman, half her time… wait a minute… hmm. Well, one thing she doesn’t pretend to be is good at math. She is good at pretending, though.

In her copious spare time (hah) she does needlework, calligraphy and illumination, and makes jewelry. She has a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago, is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and lives in a Chicago suburb with the obligatory Writer’s Cat and way too many books.

Guest Post: Rowan Speedwell

Oh My Shelves welcomes Rowan Speedwell to the blog as she gives us a heartfelt insight into life, loss, music and her new book releasing from Dreamspinner Press tomorrow, Night and Day.

******

     Music is a pretty personal thing. Everyone has their favorites, of course, but sometimes it’s more than just something you like. Sometimes it’s a part of you. I believe that the kind of music that becomes part of you tends to be the stuff you grow up with, where when you hear it, you just don’t think “Oh, I love that song,” but instead something in you says “yes, of course,” and you feel warmed inside.

     I grew up in the sixties, and of course I loved the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones, and the Monkees (yes!), and the Association, and Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Stevie Wonder, and all the Top 40 one-hit wonders that rolled across the airwaves in those days. I love the oldies, and sing along embarrassingly with them whenever they’re played. But that wasn’t the music I grew up with. Nope. Even before I knew what music was, I was listening to Gershwin and Berlin, and learning to dance to Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. Other kids my age were doing the Twist. I was jitterbugging. When they did the Frug (yes, that was the name of a dance in the sixties), I was learning the Charleston. My dad was a musician—he played piano and sang in choirs—and he loved to dance, so dance music was what we played at home.

     That, and soundtracks. We had the soundtracks from every Disney movie made up to about 1965, and we wore out the LP from Mary Martin’s Peter Pan. And Broadway shows—the King and I, South Pacific, Oklahoma, the Sound of Music…

    The Gershwins, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin wrote for Broadway shows, like Lerner and Lowe and Kandler and Ebb and Rodgers and Hammerstein did. That was how a lot of music got made in the twenties, thirties, and forties. If a play became a hit, the music started being played on the radio. The pop music of the day—they called it jazz, and some of it was, especially Gershwin’s instrumental pieces, but it wasn’t the kind of jazz you think of nowadays—much of it came from shows. And being from shows, being part of the story line and the characters, the music was singable. Oh, so singable.

Dad grew up on that music. It was his comfort music, and it became mine.

So we sang and danced to the sound of the soundtracks my dad had grown up with.

     When I decided that Night and Day would be set in the tail end of Prohibition and the early days of the Depression, it was a no-brainer that music would be a big part of the story. It was so much fun listening to it again, hunting down the lyrics (which of course I couldn’t use, but I needed to know what the song said) and watching old movies to get the feel of the times. It brought me closer to Dad.

     He’s been gone now for almost 18 years, but listening to the music brought him back for one last dance.


 

NightandDayLGNight and Day by Rowan Speedwell
Release Date: March 9, 2016
Pages: 52
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon • ARe


 

About Rowan Speedwell

An unrepentant biblioholic, Rowan Speedwell spends half her time pretending to be a law librarian, half her time pretending to be a database manager, half her time pretending to be a fifteenth-century Aragonese noblewoman, half her time… wait a minute… hmm. Well, one thing she doesn’t pretend to be is good at math. She is good at pretending, though.

In her copious spare time (hah) she does needlework, calligraphy and illumination, and makes jewelry. She has a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago, is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and lives in a Chicago suburb with the obligatory Writer’s Cat and way too many books.