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ADULT,  ARCS,  BOOK REVIEWS,  CONTEMPORARY,  CULTURAL,  FICTION,  HISTORICAL FICTION,  LITERARY FICTION,  NETGALLEY

WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES BY DENNY S. BRYCE | BOOK REVIEW

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TITLE : Wild Women And The Blues

AUTHOR : Denny S. Bryce

GENRE : Historical Fiction, African American Literature, Literary Fiction, Cultural Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

FR RATING : ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Stars)

DATE OF PUBLISHING : 20th March 2021

FR REVIEW

DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Kensington Books for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Wild Women And The Blues is a fantastic portrayal of African Americans during 1920s Chicago, at the height of the Jazz age in all of its vibrancy and splendor. The story is told in dual timelines spanning almost a hundred years. Denny S. Bryce has done a fantastic job of bringing both the contemporary and the historical setting together in the novel with brilliance. The book is a mix of historical fiction and contemporary fiction with the dual timelines splitting the two with alternating chapters taking us through the lives of Honoree and Sawyer. Bryce has captured the atmosphere of the 1920’s time and paints vivid imagery of glamor, splendor, and extravaganza. The language and the voice of the two characters are very much unique to the time period and the author takes us back and forth seamlessly. I loved the history and the richness of the era and the flair and flamboyance it offered.

We follow Sawyer Hayes, a film student who is struggling to find his place in the world after the death of his close family member affects him deeply. Dealing with guilt and depression, every day is a fight for survival. The events of Sawyer Hayes’s storyline take place in the year 2015. He is looking to complete his research and seeks out answers from 110-year-old Honoree Dalcour. He believes Honoree will be the only one alive who can answer his questions regarding legendary filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. However, on meeting Honoree he realizes that the woman before him is not only formidable but a vault of information that he has to fight fervently to reveal.

Honoree Dalcour’s storyline takes place during the peak of the Jazz age where black Chicagoans go out to dance and socialize, but also rife with the threat of gangsters ruling the streets. Honoree has lived a hard life and doesn’t want to live life barely skating by. She works for a club as a dancer and dreams of being a dancer in the ritziest club on The Stroll. She not only gets the job but also gets embroiled in dangerous business forcing her to make decisions that alter her life in ways she never imagined.

The writing is really good. With the author switching between the two timelines, she also switches between the tense of the POVs. It might throw you off a bit, but it didn’t bother me much. I loved how she showed the two stories individually and the format not only helped the progression of stories, but it also highlights the events differently. Personally, I found Honoree’s story to be more compelling as it was of an era and a time period I was not familiar with. I was excited to read about the glitz and glamorous side of Chicago during the pinnacle of the Jazz Age. The racial realities and experiences of Black Americans felt authentic, and we get to see the lives of Black people at a time when racial inequality is rampant.

The pacing is also pretty good. Sawyer’s chapter was slower to unravel, while Honoree’s was faster. The change of pace didn’t feel in-your-face and worked very well with the dual timelines in my opinion. The mystery and suspense added to the story and kept the story moving forward effortlessly.

The characters were equally fascinating. While Sawyer seemed to be so lost and unsure of his life and the direction it’s taking, Honoree is the exact opposite taking charge of her life with so much zeal and fervor. I loved the vulnerability of Sawyer and the sheer willpower of Honoree to go after, life and take it and then charge forward without apology. She is a source of inspiration and courage. I loved reading about her and her strength. She is not only kind and compassionate but also strong. Her dreams and goals remain unwavering even in the face of challenges. While Sawyer is more silent and introverted, we see him gaining strength towards the end of the book trying to overcome his grief and trials life threw at him.

Overall, this story is a fantastic portrayal of glitzy and glamorous Chicago and the search for a long-lost history. The story not only spans different time periods but also features the authentic representation of the era with all of the nuances. I loved the story and would highly recommend checking it out. I gave the 4 book stars and I am excitedly looking forward to more stories from Denny S. Bryce. If you love a mix of historical and contemporary that is character-driven taking us through the lives of the characters, then pick this book up.

Buy Wild Women And The Blues –

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SYNOPSIS

A Fascinating and Innovative Novel of Historical Fiction

Goodreads Debut Novel to Discover & Biggest Upcoming Historical Fiction Books
Oprah Magazine, Parade, Ms. Magazine, SheReads, Bustle, BookBub, Frolic, & BiblioLifestyle Most Anticipated Books
Marie Claire & Black Business Guide’s Books By Black Writers to Read
TODAY & Buzzfeed Books for Bridgerton Fans
SheReads Most Anticipated BIPOC Winter Releases 2021
Palm Beach Post Books for Your 2021 Reading List

In a stirring and impeccably researched novel of Jazz-age Chicago in all its vibrant life, two stories intertwine nearly a hundred years apart, as a chorus girl and a film student deal with loss, forgiveness, and love…in all its joy, sadness, and imperfections.


“Why would I talk to you about my life? I don’t know you, and even if I did, I don’t tell my story to just any boy with long hair, who probably smokes weed.You wanna hear about me. You gotta tell me something about you. To make this worth my while.”

In a stirring and impeccably researched novel of Jazz-age Chicago in all its vibrant life, two stories intertwine nearly a hundred years apart, as a chorus girl and a film student deal with loss, forgiveness, and love…in all its joy, sadness, and imperfections.

“Why would I talk to you about my life? I don’t know you, and even if I did, I don’t tell my story to just any boy with long hair, who probably smokes weed.You wanna hear about me. You gotta tell me something about you. To make this worth my while.”


1925: Chicago is the jazz capital of the world, and the Dreamland Café is the ritziest black-and-tan club in town. Honoree Dalcour is a sharecropper’s daughter, willing to work hard and dance every night on her way to the top. Dreamland offers a path to the good life, socializing with celebrities like Louis Armstrong and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. But Chicago is also awash in bootleg whiskey, gambling, and gangsters. And a young woman driven by ambition might risk more than she can stand to lose.

2015: Film student Sawyer Hayes arrives at the bedside of 110-year-old Honoree Dalcour, still reeling from a devastating loss that has taken him right to the brink. Sawyer has rested all his hope on this frail but formidable woman, the only living link to the legendary Oscar Micheaux. If he’s right—if she can fill in the blanks in his research, perhaps he can complete his thesis and begin a new chapter in his life. But the links Honoree makes are not ones he’s expecting . . .

Piece by piece, Honoree reveals her past and her secrets, while Sawyer fights tooth and nail to keep his. It’s a story of courage and ambition, hot jazz and illicit passions. And as past meets present, for Honoree, it’s a final chance to be truly heard and seen before it’s too late. No matter the cost . . . 

Source : Goodreads

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