My Review:From the author of We Are Called to Rise comes a novel about the interconnected lives of four women in Las Vegas, each of whom experiences a life-changing moment at a classic casino nightclub.
Spanning the six decades when Las Vegas grew from a dusty gambling town into the melting pot metropolis it is today, ‘Round Midnight is the story of four women—one who falls in love, one who gets lucky, one whose heart is broken, and one who chooses happiness—whose lives change at the Midnight Room.
June Stein and her husband open the El Capitan casino in the 1950s, and rocket to success after hiring a charismatic black singer to anchor their nightclub. Their fast-paced lifestyle runs aground as racial tensions mount.
Honorata leaves the Philippines as a mail order bride to a Chicago businessman, then hits a jackpot at the Midnight Room when he takes her on a weekend trip to Las Vegas.
Engracia, a Mexican immigrant whose lucky find at the Midnight Room leads to heartbreak, becomes enmeshed in Honorata’s secret when she opens her employer’s door to that Chicago businessman—and his gun.
And then there is Coral, an African-American teacher who struggles with her own mysterious past. A favor for Honorata takes her to the Midnight Room, where she hits a jackpot of another kind.
Mining the rich territory of motherhood and community, ‘Round Midnight is a story that mirrors the social transformation of our nation. Full of passion, heartbreak, heroism, longing, and suspense, it honors the reality of women’s lives.
This book is definitely one of my favorites of this year, so far! Admittedly, I requested this book because I grew up in Las Vegas and, although I no longer live there, there was something magical about growing up there before the boom, before the growth. And so I could completely relate to the setting in this book but I also loved the way the story was told. These characters had such meat - such sorrow and such depth - and they way their stories intertwined felt true and realistic to me. This was a book that I just couldn't stop reading; it was so seamless, so authentic. I'm going to read this author's first book now because I really love her voice and her writing - there's something in it that's hard to describe but something that I crave. I was kind of reminded of Anita Shreve when I read this but it had a uniqueness all its own as well. I think this would be a great summer read for anyone.
There had been a bomb detonation ever five days all summer and fall. Operation Plumbbob. June called it Operation Plumbrich. Tourists flocked from all over the country, from Canada, from Mexico. People who wouldn't have come to Las Vegas otherwise. But everyone wanted see an explosion. Ever since National Geographic had described a bright pink mushroom cloud turning purple and then orange, spraying ice crystals like an ocean surf in the sky, people had been coming. They drove up the dusty road to Charleston Peak and leaned against their cars to watch the white dawn burst against the night, or they crowded into tiny Beatty and asked the locals if the air was safe.