It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, 17-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.
Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally best-selling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
©2013 Ruta Sepetys (P)2013 Penguin Audiobooks
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Josie Moraine, the 17 year old daughter of a harlett, cleans a brothel while living above her employer's bookshop. She dares to dream of a better life, attending Smith College and leaving behind New Orleans' seedy underworld. Caught in the middle of a mysterious murder investigation, Jo's allegiance to her trollep mother, friends, and Willie (the madam who has been more of a mother-figure) is called into question. She must make difficult decisions, putting her in precarious situations in hopes of escaping with her innocence and livliehood.
This YA novel is a wonderful ride through resourceful and bright, Josie, Jo, Josephine's tale. Interesting, entertaining, and just dangerous enough to appeal to adults and no curse words or explicit sex to recommend to my daughter. Wonderful, straight forward writing style. Will definitely check out her first book, Between Shades of Gray.
I love to read and listen to books. I teach and share my love with my teenager and I'd like to share that love with you.
The 1950s are usually relegated to stories of the Cold War or the Happy Days. RUTA gives us something much richer to sink our teeth into. She melded the perfect blend of history, culture, mystery and thriller to transport me to another time.
We get to know and love a very eclectic cast of secondary characters through the eyes of Josie Moraine. She is strong, moral, motivated and scrappy. She isn’t afraid to wield a pistol in her attempt to rise of her mother, her past and her surroundings. She was raised a whore’s daughter. She is so tired of how people look at her, prejudging her. She dreams of heading north, starting over and getting an education. Though she has aspirations to escape New Orleans, you never feel that she really regrets her life, the things she has learned and those around her that love her. Yep, Josie has a special quality about her.
Not that life was ever easy for Josie, but her dreams will come at great cost. You are immersed into a world of secrets, lies and murder. Not all will be answered. Not everyone will make it. But it ends rich, messy and perfect.
LAUREN FORTGANG did a most excellent job. All her voices slid me into the past like butter. Her Southern Drawl fleshed out Ruta’s world bringing New Orleans to life. Josie was bright and thinking. Willie is all madam, control and red velvet. The various men ranged from Brando-eque to all business like. Some were protecting and thoughtful, some brought the swoons and a few made your skin crawl. OUT OF THE EASY played out in a vividness associated with watching a play performed in front of your eyes.
Here is to Rising Above without Losing Yourself.
Just looking for an enjoyable story! Books are my passion.
Josie is a girl who lived part of her childhood in a New Orleans brothel. I love going to New Orleans, so the idea of reading a book in which the main character lives there sounded fun. I'm not going any further about the plot so no spoilers. This book was an easy listen and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator did a great job. I was sorry to see it end!
Love a great book that stays with you long after you've finished it.
Wow! Great read. The characters were so well rounded, interesting and well put together. This story is not a common one, high morals set within a brothel. This author has the ability to take ordinary words and weave them into something beautiful. The narrator was so amazing. Not only changing her voice for different characters, but becoming the character. Super listen.
fascinating, compelling, sweet
Josie- protaganist and newly 18 with experience beyond her years yet also innocent
growing up wise yet still new to the world
well narrated, some nail biting moments- all infused with well developed characters you can see and feel. well written- LOVED this book
Mrs. C reads
I did not expect to get sucked into this book. I hadn’t paid any attention to the cover, or read the blurb. I did know several of my students loved it, and it was on my Gateway read-down. But—once I started, I savored it. Lauren Fortang, the narrator of the audiobook, has the perfect voice for Josie. When Ms. Fortang’s voice changes for the other characters, the differences are there to recognize each individual person. As I got closer to the end, I gave up and read the last chapters, in a physical book(!) because I could read faster than it was being read to me and I needed to know what happened!
Josie’s character comes off as very naïve occasionally, even though she was not sheltered at all by her background. Her need to do everything for herself frustrated me, even as I realized I really liked Josie. I wanted her to succeed to be happy, to get out of the Big Easy, and to have her happy ending. One of my friends who also read this thought things wrapped up in too nice a bow at the end—but I liked that, and wasn’t disappointed.
The narration by Lauren Fortgang was excellent. She gave life to the diverse characters. This is an engaging story, well written, interesting characters, and an upbeat ending.
“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” ― Dr. Seuss
Impact of decisions
When Josie when to see Mr. Lockwell at his apartment and how she handled herself.
Your decisions can impact your life.
This story is about decisions and their impact on someone's life. I was taken right from the beginning. I am a sucker for stories from the 50's filled with mobsters and hope for better days. I was not disappointed. Josie Moraine is a young lady who is trying to find her place in the sun despite all what life has thrown at her. We follow her story in 1950 and her desperate attempts to get out of the Big Easy (The Big Easy is a nickname for New Orleans, if you did not know that). The story is rich with facts about New Orleans and how the people lived in the 50's. The author did not hide the ugliness and beauty of this city; her descriptions were realistic.
Ruta Sepetys did a marvelous job at bringing New Orleans alive. Her characters are at time serious, at time funny, but at always real. This book was whimsical and dramatic at the same time. I really enjoyed this book!
Medical professional who loves the escape of Romantic Adventure/suspense fiction and a country life.
Enjoyed the New Orleans accents, so definitely believe the audio version is an excellent way to take in this story.
Willie, the Madame. A reluctant Mother, although she would never say so, and very rough character, her back story evolves over the entire book.
Altheimers Scene with Charlie and Patrick. Jo wraps herself in an alternative family without requesting accolades. Also sets the stage for Patricks' back story.
Yes, walked around doing chores, hobbies, and took the story into the car with me. I love New Orleans and this story is so engaging that very easily time slips by and I could imagine myself in a Storyville. baudy house. The complicated life that real people lead shines through.
Terrific drama, with a different kind of family that a young woman develops when she has to choose herself over blood. Jo, her female friends, and the Madame are natively strong women without waving a suffragette banner. Subtle drama set in a whore house.
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