Book Review: Empire Girls by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan

Empire Girls (click on book or see below for description)
By Suzanne Hayes & Loretta Nyhan
Released 6/1/14
Downloaded free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4 bones

Finish Time: A few nights.  Again I revert back to my favorite time period – the 1920’s.  I’m so intrigued with flappers, speakeasies, and just the glamour that surrounds this time period (obviously not taking into account the depression.)  This book did not disappoint.  Full of vibrant characters, mystery, and romance, I enjoyed reading this book each night.

The book follows Rose & Ivy Adams.  Sisters so close in age, yet so far apart in personalities.  Losing their father forces them to join forces and investigate the mystery he left them to figure out how to keep their house and move on without him.  Rose & Ivy are confused and surprised to learn they have a brother (from another mother) that their father has left in control of his estate.  With a few pictures and clues, they set off on their journey to New York City, specifically a girls boarding house, Empire House.

Empire House is managed by Nell and is home to a variety of girls who stories unfold over the course of the story.  As the girls jump right into trying to locate their brother Asher, they are hit what on the surface is a lot of walls, but they both can tell those walls contain many secrets.  As both Rose & Ivy begin working in different fields and forming new friendships, the secrets begin to unfold and more hints are uncovered.  Both their ingrained personalities and comfort zones are challenged, and their already shaky relationship is pushed to the limit.  Romance and friendships blossom and this book is really choke full of sweet moments and constant entertainment.

The ending does not disappoint, except that I wasn’t ready to leave this world and family that Rose & Ivy had created around them.  Really a great story of growth, discovery, and love during the 1920’s.  What I also found interesting was the Q&A with the authors at the end.  Anytime I see two authors listed on a book, I wonder how they do that.  Not being a writer, I would think it is a very independent job until feedback is needed.  But Suzanne & Loretta seem to have a system down, each taking ownership of certain characters, that really makes for a great book that flawlessly flows together!

Description from Amazon:

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.


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