Title: Empire Girls
Author: Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhen
On the Shelves: Fiction> Historical Fiction/ Netgalley/Arc reviews.
Publication Date: 27th May 2014- TODAY!
“The critically acclaimed authors of I’ll Be Seeing You return with a riveting tale of two sisters, set in the intoxicating world of New York City during the Roaring Twenties.
Ivy and Rose Adams may be sisters, but they’re nothing alike. Rose, the eldest, is the responsible one, while Ivy is spirited and brazen. After the unexpected death of their father, the women are left to reconcile the estate, when they make a shocking discovery: not only has their father left them in financial ruin, but he has also bequeathed their beloved family house to a brother they never knew existed. With only a photograph to guide the way, Ivy and Rose embark to New York City, determined to find this mysterious man and reclaim what is rightfully theirs.
Once in New York, temptations abound at every turn, and soon the sisters are drawn into the glitzy underbelly of Manhattan, where they must overcome their differences and learn to trust each other if they’re going to survive in the big city and find their brother. Filled with unforgettable characters and charm, Empire Girls is a love letter to 1920s New York, and a captivating story of the unspoken bond between sisters.” (Goodreads 2014)
First of all, I need to thank Netgalley, the authors (Hayes and Nyhen) and the publishers at Harlequin for allowing me early access to this book in exchange for an honest review.
“Empire Girls” is a brand awarded to the girls who reside in a boarding house in New York City, which is where our two sisters, Rose and Ivy wind up after their father tells them via his last wishes that their house belongs to a long-lost brother they have never met. They depart to NYC on a mission: find Asher= find Home again.
This book sounded like it would be right up my street, and I did enjoy it. I found the writer’s pacing of the story enjoyable, although quite slow to start with, and the characters were likeable enough, although they did seem to be lacking a little bit in the development department. But that wound up not really being of matter since once the sisters arrived in the city, they gradually did a 180 in personality. This would have been fine, but somehow I missed the change, especially in Rose. She went from being this stuffy, sensible prude to exactly the opposite in a very short time and it felt like I’d blinked and missed it. I didn’t mind it this much because I enjoyed, like I said, the pace of the story and the book and I like that the plot very much stayed focussed on their mission of finding their veteran brother. But it definitely had a few bumps which could have been worked out (mainly the character development of the sisters and then their subsequent love interests. I would’ve loved to have seen much more development written about Jimmy, John and Sonny).
I found the ending to be quite rushed. The pacing went from pleasant to “whoa slow down when did that happen?” and suddenly about ten character stories came to light all at once, it was a lot to take in! This was a little bizarre considering the slow start to the story. I can see why the ratings on this book so far are a bit of a strange mix, lots of two/three stars. It’s good and you can definitely see what it is trying to do- it just…it seems to miss something.
I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, possible specifically set in the twenties America. But it could certainly have used a little more time on the ending of the story after all that build up.