Monday, October 8, 2012

Jamie Brenner: The Gin Lovers (Books #1 & #2)

Prohibition, flappers, bootleggers, illegal booze, speakeasies, jazz jam sessions, illicit love affairs, fashion, society matrons, politics, and money. . . lots of money. The gilded, repressed world of New York's high society meets and collides with the sophisticated, liberated, and seedy world of flappers, bootleggers, speakeasies and jazz in Jamie Brenner's new soap-opera style serial, The Gin Lovers.

The Gin Lovers (Book #1) 

The Gin Lovers
Book #1
It's 1925 and New York City is mourning the passing of society leader Geraldine Delacorte in a grand funeral attended by upper echelons of society that includes the Vanderbilts and Astors. William is now the head of the family and his wife Charlotte Delacorte better make sure everything goes without a hitch. Unfortunately, his sister Mae shows up at the funeral in full flapper regalia driven by Jake Larkin, a most inappropriate escort whose presence and manner intrigue Charlotte. Not about to let Mae embarrass the family, William kicks her out of the funeral. Mae runs to her lover, Fiona, with whom she is conducting an openly hot and heavy affair.

Charlotte tries her best to play hostess at the funeral, but can't seem to impress her controlling husband or exacting social nemesis, the high and mighty Amelia Astor. Almost as soon as the funeral is over, however, William departs for Boston leaving Charlotte in charge of the troublesome Mae. When Mae sneaks out of the house late at night and Charlotte follows her to the Vesper Club, Charlotte ends up getting a taste of the illicit world of night clubs and speakeasies, and to her surprise not only meets Mae's lover Fiona, but ends up enjoying the evening and Jake Larkin's company more than expected.

I was hooked on all the drama when I was done reading the first episode of this serial! There is Mae's impulsive behavior and passionate love for money grabbing Fiona, which causes havoc for everyone. Fiona making a play for a bigger role at work when her boss Boom Boom asks her to find a new source of liquor after she loses her suppliers, and sexy bootlegger Jake Larkin who has his eye on Charlotte. Charlotte surprises herself by enjoying the underworld nightlife and becoming protective of Mae, while recognizing William's controlling streak and discovering one of his secrets.

The Gin Lovers serves as a good set up for this serial, as well as an introduction to the cast of characters. The atmosphere is excellent in this first installment, particularly in the clubs where Brenner uses fashion, music, and dancing, plus contrasting (liberal vs. conservative) societal attitudes and moral beliefs of the times to take the reader to a different time.

Little White Lies: The Gin Lovers (Book #2) 

Little White Lies:
The Gin Lovers
Book #2
I thought I was hooked with The Gin Lovers. However, Little White Lies is when things really begin to get good! This is where the story as a whole begins to take shape.

Charlotte's world is spinning out of control. She finds out that William has been keeping some darn big secrets from her. Suspicious already, she catches him talking on the side with the high and mighty Amelia Astor, who Charlotte suspects is after her husband, and yes. . . William is off to Boston. Again!

Well, that's fine with her because she takes the time to go off to the clubs with Mae where she can wear her new dress by Coco Chanel and spends the night listening to music at a Harlem speakeasy with sexy Jake where their mutual fascination with each other grows by the minute. But just as Jake and Charlotte's feelings are growing, Amelia and William scheme and plot, and after key revelations from William these two make decisions about Mae's life behind Charlotte's back.

In the meantime, Boom Boom promotes Fiona to "hostess" at the Vesper Club and she accepts. This means more than just keeping men in the club, and Fiona takes it a step further -- maybe a step too far. To top it all off? The D.A. has an agent hoping to get at Boom Boom working undercover inside the nightclub. Fiona wants/needs money and since Mae's inheritance is frozen her passion has turned to icicles. Poor Mae is desperate, heartbroken, and reacts accordingly. Oh, the drama!!

Little White Lies is a great second episode ending in a cliff hanger that left me wanting the next installment immediately! The Mae/Fiona melodrama and the possibilities that seem to be opening up for Charlotte and Jake were high points for me, and curiosity about William's secrets is killing me. Plus, I'm really taken with William and Charlotte's butler, Rafferty! What is it with him? More!

Category: Historical Fiction/Romance
Series: The Gin Lovers
Publisher/Release Date: St. Martin Griffin/October 8, 2012
Format: Digital (ebook)
Episodes 1 & 2 - Grade: B

The Gin Lovers, #1
Little White Lies: The Gin Lovers, #2


  1. Wow, this covers are kind of sexy, but in a good way I think.
    And the books sound interesting, I really like the setting and time period, so I'm going to try to check them out. Thanks for the review, I hadn't heard of these before.

    1. Alex, I also like the covers -- sexy but not outrageous -- they match the story.

      The Gin Lovers is a "serial" -- it's one story separated into 6 sections or episodes. In the past they were published in newspapers or magazines and were quite popular. I love how each episode ends in a cliffhanger and leaves you drooling for the next one. The good news is that they are all releasing in October.

      The time period is awesome! I love the roaring 20's and Brenner definitely captures them, that's what initially caught my attention, but by the end of the first episode and that second episode between the characters and the drama I was really involved and just wanted more and more. :D

  2. So funny how you and Wendy read and talked about this serial at the same time! LOL. Sounds like you're really enjoying them Hils! Gotta say, the time period is really interesting. Hopefully, it'll inspire other authors to explore it.

    How long is each installment about?

    1. Did Wendy review these? I have to check her post! These first two installments just released yesterday, that might be the reason we both posted them at the same time. LOL!

      I love this time period, it's SO interesting and not explored enough in my opinion.

      The first installment is about 96 pages and the second about 76 pages long (print) -- a little longer in ebook format -- but these are short, fast episodes. :) Really a lot of fun to read.

  3. Really like this setting, so different and rarely used. These would be good in-between stories when you're not sure what you're in the mood for. I'll definitely be getting these. Thanks for the reviews Hils!

    1. Leslie, that’s a great idea! You can read them in between other books and then wait until the new episodes release. They’re short and quick. I hope you enjoy them... they’re a bit addicting with all the drama and the cliffhangers, plus the setting and atmosphere is wonderful. :)

  4. Exact same grades and reactions from me and Hils :)

    I loved the soapy goodness of these installments and I was positively hooked by the time I got done with #2. The nice thing is that each new installment lands every week, so we don't have to wait long. Can't wait to read the rest of your reviews for these - as I've already completed the serial. Can't wait to compare notes :)

    1. I know! I enjoyed these episodes, the first one as a set up a little less than the second one and that's because #2 hooked me so badly. :D The cliffhangers definitely work on these, and yes... that's because there's not a long wait. I already read the rest of the episodes too! My review for #3 is coming soon. *g*

  5. What a FUN and CLEVER idea to write a soap-opera-like mini series like this. Well, for all I know, there are many out there and I've just never gotten wind of it, but so cool. How refreshing to set it in this time period, too. I'm thinking about reading them now too! I like the length--would be fun to read when life gets busy and I need a little filler, you know?


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