Friday, May 4, 2012

The Artist and Whispering: The Year of 1920 Historicals.

I've written it before. If you loved The Artist, I guarantee you'll love Whispering.

I love historical novels and last year had published two that were set in the 1920s. I love the period because a great cultural change happened in America: World War I, then called The Great War ended, women got the vote, and that misguided law that created Prohibition and its ills - elevating gangsters to idols - went into effect only to be repealed when saner lawmakers got to Congress. These changes were reflected in the language, clothing, art and archetectural styles, to name a few, but mostly in the attitudes of young people. The Flapper Era had begun.

Whispering isn't The Artist. It's not about silent films or stars, it's a romance set on an island that reflected the cultural changes and a change or heart and mind in heroine, Cleo Snow.

It's 1921. Cleo travels with her cousin, Neill Connolly, to Sago Island, Ga. to lessen the sadness of her fiance's death in The Great War (later called World War I). He'd been missing, presumed killed in France, and his body recently returned home.

America's victory celebration is in full swing.  Cleo is poised between her Victorian raising and post-war liberal ideas. Hemlines are rising. Jargon is spicier. Songs are racier. The fox trot is the cat’s meow. Everyone smokes coffin nails. The great experiment, Prohibition, has ushered in an epoch of fascinating gangsters and illegal speakeasies. Drinking and dancing go together like bathtub gin and painted dolls.

On Sago Island Cleo meets fly-boy hero Graham Henry, the dazzling son of a steel magnate. They fall in love dancing to "Whispering", the rage song of the year. Complicating their love-at-first-sight is Shafer and Josie Drake. Shafer is Graham's cousin. He lost his liquor business and knows he's about to lose his money-loving wife, Josie.

The morning after the dance, Josie is missing. A note she purportedly wrote says she's leaving the island to get a divorce and marry Graham. Graham swears the note's a lie and that he and Josie were nothing more than "boozing" companions.

Where did Josie go and when? Did she return to New York where she once danced in the Ziegfeld Follies? No one saw her leave the island. But Cleo knows Graham had nothing to do with her disappearance because Cleo was with him in the lighthouse the night Josie vanished. Cleo vows she will never confess to making love with a man she's known only two days. But Will Graham compromise Cleo to clear himself?

Island resident, the enigmatic Doc Holliday, who is said to be related to the infamous gunslinger, is a veterinarian and a falconer. His falcon, Billy, captures Cleo’s severely crushed heart. Cleo captures Doc’s heart, but she’s reeling over her gullibility. Will he win her with his darkly sensuous charm?

Everyone on Sago, it seems, has something to hide, even villagers who distill homemade "hooch" - and it all pivots around Josie and Graham. With her spirit firmed by shame and outrage, Cleo vows to uncover the truth and thus keep her own secret.

Happy Reading

On sale at:

Gerrie Ferris Finger

The sequel to The End Game (titled The Last Temptation) will be relased in July 2012. These novels represent my contemporary writing period, which exists alongside my historical writing period. :-D