Speak Easy - Melanie Harlow

I am a huge sucker for historicals set in different periods and I always loved the 20's setting because there is something magical about this time that calls to me. Speak Easy which is the first book in a NA series by Melanie Harlow,  about a young nursing student, Tiny O'Mara who gets caught up in the intrigue and danger of two opposing gangs. She works for her father, helping him in his bootlegging and smuggling business during the prohibition era. However things get dicey when DiFiore's Gang decide they should get a cut in the profits and exhort them for money. When her father refuses, he gets kidnapped and it is up to Tiny to find ten thousand dollars to help save him and her family from being harmed. 

 

I was really intrigued by Speak Easy, the setting and atmosphere was vibrant and full of rich detail which was very authentic. I definitely felt I was in immersed in the 20's with the description and dialogue which added such a refreshing flavour from the usual historical setting such as the Regency or Victorian era. 

 

Nonetheless, I am not entirely keen on the love triangle  trope because I hate the angsty drama that can develop over it. It crops up in Speak Easy and it makes Tiny's character indecisive which is another reason why I dislike this plot. Although the romance set up is good especially with the romantic tension between Joey her childhood friend who I am leaning towards and the seductive Enzo DiFiore who is the son of the gangster that is threatening her family. Tiny is very drawn to Enzo but is taken by surprise by her attraction to Joey who joins an opposing gang and she is stuck in the middle of the two  men and factions. I did like how this tied in with the plot and Tiny uses her wits although she does make some decisions that come back to haunt her. And some of her decisions do betray or manipulate those around her but she does have good reason and the decisions are justified because they've either misled or drew her in the mess in the first place. 

 

I have no idea where the the next book may go although I have some theories and although I have some worries over the direction of the love triangle, this is a great start to a series which is well written midst the backdrop of prohibition era of bootlegging and gangsters. I found the characters rich and vivid and definitely looking forward to the next installment.