By Joanna Shupe
Like her sister Mamie before her, Florence is another rebellious Greene sister who feels restricted by their wealthy upbringing and their strict father and want to explore New York City. How magical it is to read about the Gilded Age, a time when New York was really becoming the city it is today.
My first instinct is that I love Florence. She is so beautiful and does things on her own terms. She has big dreams to open a casino for women so she seeks the mentorship of Clayton Madden, the city’s notorious casino operator.
Clayton is immediately attracted to Florence and the feeling is mutual. I loved their sneaky relationship and the chemistry these two had. In one sexy scene, they watch a couple at the neighbor’s brothel. The voyeurism is envelope-pushing and super hot.
But by the middle to the end of the book, I wasn’t crazy about either Florence or Clay. Florence was so singularly focused on her casino that she couldn’t look at the big picture of her life. Clay was malicious and although he warned Florence that he wanted revenge on her family, both Florence and the reader hoped his feelings for her would override his desire for revenge.
After reading Mamie’s book, where she helps fight for the people who live in bad conditions in the tenements downtown, and after again being introduced to Justine, who also spends time helping those less fortunate, it is too easy to see Florence’s drive to open this casino as frivolous and out of touch.
We are also introduced to Clay’s nemesis, Mulligan, who I was much more drawn to. I can’t wait to read his book next.
Review by Michele W.