Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Bootlegger's Daughter - Lauri Robinson (HH #1246 - Aug 2015)

Series: Daughters of the Roaring Twenties (Book 2)

Of all the speakeasies, in all the world…

Mysterious city slicker Ty Bradshaw might have won her father's trust, but everyone knows Norma Rose is the true boss of Nightingale's resort. And it'll take more than that charming smile to shake the feeling that Ty is not all he seems…

He walks into hers

Ty is a federal agent on a personal mission of revenge. But he hasn't figured on falling for a bootlegger's daughter. Suddenly, flirting with headstrong Norma Rose seems far more exhilarating than chasing gangsters!

Fantastic book. With the popularity of Regency, medieval and western romances, one taking place in the 1920s really stands out. The idea of a federal agent and a bootlegger's daughter falling for each other shows great promise, and the author really delivered.

It's the middle of Prohibition and running a resort isn't easy. It takes some clever maneuvering to provide the guests with the amenities they expect without running afoul of the law. Norma Rose makes sure that everything is taken care of, as well as watching out for her three younger sisters. Her father is busy with the not-so-secret distribution of the whiskey made in another part of the state. One night she is called to the jail to pick up her uncle, who has been picked up for being drunk, even though he doesn't drink. There she encounters Ty Bradshaw, who claims to be a lawyer there to post her uncle's bail. From the moment she meets him, there's something that tells her that he isn't exactly what he claims.

Ty is actually a federal agent who has come to Nightingale's in search of a mob boss that he has been after for years. This same mobster is responsible for the deaths of his parents and brother, as well as a bunch of other innocent people and Ty has vowed to bring him down no matter what it takes. He doesn't expect a distraction like Norma Rose!

Ty and Norma Rose struck sparks off each other from the very beginning. Norma Rose has excellent instincts, and she suspected that Ty was a government man of some kind the first time she met him. She is determined to get him away from the resort before he can make trouble, and can't believe that he fools her father so easily. No matter what she says or does, he won't go away. Instead she discovers that he's actually enjoying giving her a hard time. He's also getting under her skin in ways no one has before.

At the same time, Ty finds himself fascinated by Norma Rose. He's never met anyone quite like her before. It surprises him that she is suspicious of him from the outset, as he's never had any trouble before in convincing someone of his cover story. While he still has his goal of catching the mobster firmly in mind, he also discovers a deep desire to spend more time with her.

I loved seeing these two together. Norma Rose is usually a very calm and in control woman, but every time she and Ty get together he gets her worked up. He sees that she is always so serious and intent on making sure the present and future are secure that she hasn't allowed herself to have any fun. I really enjoyed seeing him tease her into doing things she doesn't usually do. The dance-off scene was especially fun. Norma Rose also found herself leaning on Ty when one of her sisters turns up missing, another thing she never expected to do. The feelings that she's beginning to have for him both scare and thrill her. The more time he spends with Norma Rose, the more Ty becomes conflicted over what he has to do. He's developing feelings for her, but his mission is likely to destroy her life as she knows it.

I really enjoyed the story line of the government man versus the bootleggers and mob. Usually the bootleggers are shown as straight criminals, but in this story we get the perspective from their side. I loved the way that Norma Rose showed Ty another side of the issue. As he came closer to completing the mission, he discovered that he cared about effects it would have on the entire community. It was interesting to see the way that Ty worked his way into Roger Nightingale's confidence and used it to get the information he needed. As it came closer to the time the mobster was due to arrive, the sense of impending danger increased, especially as Ty and Norma Rose uncovered more information about what was happening. Things got really tense when Norma Rose was kidnapped, and I loved seeing Ty's protective instincts really take off. He had to get very creative to save her, bring down the bad guy, and secure a future for him and Norma Rose. I loved seeing how he pulled it off.

I also loved getting to know Norma Rose's sisters. Each of them is a distinct personality and the interactions among them were fascinating. It was terrific to see how they stood up to Norma Rose, tired of being treated like children instead of grown women. They definitely stepped up when things started going wrong, and I loved their support of Norma Rose. I am really looking forward to their stories.

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