Parlor Games: A Novel

( 12 )

Overview

Based on a true story, comes a sweeping historical novel about a beautiful con artist whose turn-of-the-century escapades take her around the world as she's doggedly pursued by a Pinkerton Agency detective
 
The novel opens in 1917 with our cunning protagonist, May Dugas, standing trial for extortion. As the trial unfolds, May tells her version of events.
 
In ...
See more details below
Paperback
$12.46
BN.com price
(Save 21%)$15.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (30) from $1.99   
  • New (13) from $8.63   
  • Used (17) from $1.99   
Parlor Games: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

Based on a true story, comes a sweeping historical novel about a beautiful con artist whose turn-of-the-century escapades take her around the world as she's doggedly pursued by a Pinkerton Agency detective
 
The novel opens in 1917 with our cunning protagonist, May Dugas, standing trial for extortion. As the trial unfolds, May tells her version of events.
 
In 1887, at the tender age of eighteen, May ventures to Chicago in hopes of earning enough money to support her family. Circumstances force her to take up residence at the city’s most infamous bordello, but May soon learns to employ her considerable feminine wiles to extract not only sidelong looks but also large sums of money from the men she encounters.  Insinuating herself into Chicago’s high society, May lands a well-to-do fiancé—until, that is, a Pinkerton Agency detective named Reed Doherty intervenes and summarily foils the engagement. 
 
Unflappable May quickly rebounds, elevating seduction and social climbing to an art form as she travels the world, eventually marrying a wealthy Dutch Baron. Unfortunately, Reed Doherty is never far behind and continues to track May in a delicious cat-and-mouse game as the newly-minted Baroness’s misadventures take her from San Francisco to Shanghai to London and points in between.
 
The Pinkerton Agency really did dub May the “Most Dangerous Woman,” branding her a crafty blackmailer and ruthless seductress.  To many, though, she was the most glamorous woman to grace high society. Was the real May Dugas a cold-hearted swindler or simply a resourceful provider for her poor family?
 
As the narrative bounces back and forth between the trial taking place in 1917 and May’s devious but undeniably entertaining path to the courtroom—hoodwinking and waltzing her way through the gilded age and into the twentieth century—we're left to ponder her guilt as we move closer to finding out what fate ultimately has in store for our irresistible adventuress. 
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An engaging glimpse into a character, who categorically eludes our attempts to define her.”
--Kirkus Reviews 

"This double-stranded narrative bounces back and forth between the extortion trial of turn-of-the-century con artist May Dugas and the international escapades that led to her arrest. Basing her novel loosely on a real-life figure, the woman the venerable Pinkerton Agency once dubbed the “Most Dangerous Woman,” Biaggio re-creates the deliciously fabulous foibles and follies of a woman born into hardscrabble circumstances but determined to make her way in the world with wit, beauty, and a brazen ability to exploit her feminine charms for a very high price. Whether one admires or reviles May, theres no doubt that she [Biaggio] makes the most of every entertaining opportunity—and, hey, a girl’s gotta make a living, especially with a particularly persistent Pinkerton detective hot on her heels. Sheer, frenetic fun."
--Booklist

"Parlor Games is a captivating tale narrated by the irresistible and deliciously unreliable con-woman, May Dugas. Her escapades, which span the Gilded Age right through the turn-of-the-century, immediately transport the reader to a bygone era. It's a wildly entertaining and constantly surprising ride."
--Daisy Goodwin, author of the New York Times bestseller American Heiress

“Come meet May Dugas, a con artist of the highest order. You’ll be swept up by her delicious voice from the first page of Parlor Games, so prepare to be joyously fleeced.  This jaunty tale through the life of a woman who keeps one step ahead of a dogged Pinkerton agent of the law is a true pleasure, something like munching your way through a box of chocolates all by yourself.  Curl up and settle in for a lovely read.”
--Kate Alcott, author of the New York Times bestseller The Dressmaker

“Like Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair before her, May Dugas--delightfully unrepentant--charms with tantalizing glimpses of her con games as she cheats her way from poverty into opulence.”
--Eva Stachniak, the author of The Winter Palace

Parlor Games is both playful and deeply serious in its portrayal of one determined woman's battle to make her way in a man's world. You'll be cheering for May Dugas as she cons her way across the continents. She's a terrific creation.”
-- Matt Rees, author of Mozart's Last Aria
 

Library Journal
A beautiful con artist matches wits with a dogged Pinkerton detective in Biaggio's high-spirited debut. On trial in 1917 for allegedly tricking a close friend into giving her large sums of money, May Dugas looks back proudly on her exciting rise to notoriety. Her manipulations have taken her from a San Francisco brothel to the enviable position of baroness, and she has amassed wealth and broken hearts in a variety of exotic locales along the way. The unrepentant May's only regrets stem from Det. Reed Doherty's tendency to pop up in her life at truly inconvenient moments, exposing her secrets and wrecking her carefully laid plans. VERDICT May's seductions and schemes begin to feel a tad repetitive, and the frequently interspersed and overlong courtroom scenes relegate both her and Doherty to the role of spectator, thereby losing the energy gained elsewhere from their entertaining interactions. Still, this novel could appeal to historical fiction fans looking for an undemanding read, or to readers interested in historical crime stories based on real-life figures. [See Prepub Alert, 7/9/12.]—Mara Bandy, Champaign P.L., IL
Kirkus Reviews
The author traces the life of May Dugas, who schemes, thieves, claws, charms, swindles and whores her way to economic success. One of the tragedies of May's life is that she grew up in Menominee, Wis., and aspired to so much more. The dull Midwest couldn't contain her vaulting ambition and grand sense of self-destiny. The novel alternates between her trial for fraud in 1917 and flashbacks into her life as con artist, "lady of leisure" and manipulator extraordinaire. The lawsuit has been brought against her by Frank Shaver, a woman who had been May's close friend as well as her lover. Even more interesting than the trial is the pattern of behavior that led May to jack up her social status--so at one level, the narrative line fulfills the American myth of the self-made woman, whose pluck and courage lead her to economic and social success. Her pursuit of wealth--and occasional need to escape the law, especially in the form of the relentless Reed Dougherty, a Pinkerton detective who tracks her for years--leads her to Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, Shanghai, London, Amsterdam and other places, both exotic and non-. She eventually marries Rudolph de Vries, a Dutch baron, and this allows her the liberty to style herself a baroness. Along the way, she accrues lovers of both sexes, makes extravagant purchases of jewelry and engages in sordid business schemes promising huge rates of return through questionable means. When the judge rules that May owes Frank over $57,000, she makes one last attempt to escape her past as well as to shake off Dougherty's dogged pursuit. Based on a true story, Biaggio's narrative provides an engaging glimpse into a character who categorically eludes our attempts to define her.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307950895
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/8/2013
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 285,282
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.06 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Maryka Biaggio, a former psychology professor, has many scholarly publishing credits to her name, but Parlor Games is her debut novel. Maryka loves the challenge of starting with actual historical figures and dramatizing their lives—imagining what motivated them to behave as the did, studying how the cultural and historical context may have influenced them, and recreating some sense of their emotional world through dialogue and action. She travels extensively, for both work and pleasure, is crazy about opera, and enjoys gardening, art films, and, of course, great fiction. She lives in Portland, Oregon, that edgy green gem of the Pacific Northwest.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Parlor Games

A Novel
By Maryka Biaggio

Doubleday

Copyright © 2013 Maryka Biaggio
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780385536226

The Trial



Menominee, Michigan—­January 22, 1917

I believe, dear reader—­and these words come from the bottom of my heart—­that I can truly trust you. Look at yourself. You’ve sought out my story; you’re willing to hear me out through these many pages. Who but a worldly and curious soul would undertake such a journey? Why, already I discern in you the intellect and refinement of a person with an open heart and nimble mind. You and I, my new friend, will become well acquainted over the course of this tale.

But you’ll want me to proceed with the telling. That’s what you’ve come for, and I’ll not thwart your wishes a moment longer. So choose your favorite spot—­a divan in a sumptuous hotel suite, the leather chair in front of your blazing fireplace, or a sun-­soaked bench in a sculpture garden—­any place, really, where we might enjoy the luxury of uninterrupted time together, and I will tell you the tale of the most dangerous woman in the world—­or so the Pinkertons dubbed me.

Today was the first day of my trial in the booming metropolis of Menominee. I narrowed my attire choices down to an indigo dress or a modest black dress with fluted collar. Looking at the black dress, I thought, heavens, it’s no funeral, and donned the blue one. It hugged my torso in a becoming manner, but still struck the serious and formal note required of the occasion. I kept my jewelry to a minimum: a simple sapphire necklace and matching earrings; the carved gold bracelet the Baron gave me on our first wedding anniversary; and my three-­stone diamond ring with garland filigrees. As much as I love my jewels, this was no time for ostentation.

With the trial slated to open at two in the afternoon, my brothers and I enjoyed a leisurely luncheon at home. Then Paul drove us through swirling snow to the courthouse in his 1916 Apperson Jack Rabbit. He’s so proud of that car—­with its spruce-­green exterior and leather seats as comfortable as a sofa. But, then, his automobile business does stock the latest models in the Upper Peninsula.

“I believe, Paul,” I observed from the back seat, “that Mr. Apperson has taught Henry Ford a thing or two with this car.”

Gene, who sat beside me, said, “Taught him how to build the most expensive thing on wheels is what he’s done.”

I chuckled—­Gene and I fell easily into the sport of teasing our older sibling—­and added, “Now, if only you could find a buyer for it in Menominee.”

Paul pivoted his blocky head in my direction. “If I get the chance to sell it.”

I resented Paul’s insinuation that he stood to lose property in the lawsuit. After Papa’s passing, Paul had ordained himself head of the family, even though the best he’d ever managed was a lumber worker’s salary—­that is, until I financed his automobile business. In truth, the responsibility for substantial support of the family had always fallen to me.

I reached over the front seat and patted Paul’s shoulder. “You needn’t worry. Have I ever let you down?”

“You’re coming damn close,” said Paul.

“Oh, don’t make it harder than it already is,” Gene said. “None of us likes being dragged to court.”

I could always count on Gene to take my side whenever Paul goaded me. With a winking nod to Gene, I said, “I’m sure it will all come out fine.”

Everyone should have a brother like Gene. He’s as loyal as a musketeer, always ready to serve up merriment, and dashing to boot. Today he sported a trim charcoal-­gray suit; Paul wore a baggy black jacket and shiny-­with-­wear wool pants. Gene, at six foot two, surpasses Paul in height and carries himself as erect as a proud stallion. Gene has the sort of looks that beguile women—­twinkly blue eyes, a shapely mustache, and tawny-­brown hair. Paul, stouter of build and perpetually glum, has only managed to attract a dowdy wife who disdains the revelry Gene and I naturally fall into. How perfectly provident that Gene, and not dull Paul, was named after our charming father.

Paul eased up on the accelerator as we rounded the corner onto Ogden Avenue. Wagon and car wheel ruts grooved the snow-­packed streets, and our car jostled over the ridges, bouncing us up and down on our seats. Between buildings and in storefront cul-­de-­sacs, a gusting wind played the snowdrifts, skimming snow off their thin peaks and carving them into lopsided mounds. The drying cold of winter that hangs in the air even during a snowstorm pricked my bare cheeks and neck; I clutched the folds of my moleskin coat against its bite.

We approached Foster’s Dry Goods, and I spied Mr. and Mrs. Foster standing as still as mannequins, gazing out the window. As we drove by, the couple stretched their necks to study us, making no attempt at a greeting.

Gene leaned forward and gripped Paul’s seat. “Look at the Fosters admiring your car.”

Paul trained his eyes straight ahead. “More likely trying to spot our notorious sister.”

“Well, you’re wise to drive this car around town,” I said, intent on nudging Paul back to some measure of civility. “Surely it’s good for business.”

Not that Menominee offers much by way of business. I’ve seen cities all over the world—­Chicago, sparkling and booming after the Great Fire; Portland, brash as the Wild West; Shanghai, steeped in trade and mystery; and London, civilized and regal. This town, however, has “bust” written all over it: the sorry storefronts bleached as ashen as driftwood; many of its once-­booming lumber mills shuttered; the ice-­encrusted shores of Lake Michigan impassable for months on end; and the surrounding forests, once thick with white pine, nearly all logged out. All in all, a rather pitiful place. As for me, I’d rather roast in the Mojave than live in Menominee. The only good thing that comes of being stuck here for this trial is the chance to enjoy my brothers’ company.

We parked beside the courthouse, among a hodgepodge of Tin Lizzies and horse-­drawn wagons and carriages. The piebald mare only a few feet away drooped her head as snow collected in splotchy blankets on her contoured back. At the slamming of our car doors she neither budged nor blinked. The poor thing—­what a shame that this trial forced her to endure such numbing cold.

Positioning myself between Paul and Gene, I hooked a hand under each one’s arm, and they escorted me through the front door and up to the second-­floor courtroom. Paul opened the door and I stepped forward.

Townspeople had absolutely mobbed the courtroom—­to say nothing of the eight to ten newsmen with writing pads at the ready. As we walked in, heads turned and followed us. On the water-­stained wood floor, snow melted and puddled around the onlookers’ feet. Coats, gloves, and farmers’ boots gave off wet-­wool, stale-­dirt, and manure odors. The pungent brew tickled my nose; I swept my wrist under my nostrils to supplant the stench with my Jasmin perfume.

As we marched along, Gene exchanged soft hellos with several people seated on the aisle. Holding my chin up proudly, I smiled and nodded at those who dared to cast their probing gaze my way.

I wasn’t surprised that nearly half the town had shown up for the trial; it’s been the talk of the Upper Peninsula for months now. If I had to live here season after season, I’d consider it the highlight of the year, too. Imagine how it’s been these past months: On afternoons when their husbands toiled at the mill or factory, women gathered over their needlework to speculate and gossip about me. That’s not to say the men are uninterested. Oh, no, I can’t walk ten feet in this town without a man’s eyes trailing me—­surreptitiously if his wife is on hand, but even if she isn’t, never so boldly as to require a chastening from a sister, the pastor, or whoever might observe him ogling that “swindler May,” as the town’s women have likely christened me. Why, I wasn’t even surprised to hear they’d been rehashing what turned out to be a mistaken pregnancy by hometown boy Robby Jacobsen.

Oh, yes, the womenfolk of Menominee had flocked to the courthouse, and as I stood unfastening my coat at the defendant’s table, I noticed they weren’t too proud to stare. Most of the crowd was older—­women without children or chores, I imagine—­all gussied up in their Sunday best with their hair neatly combed and hats pinned in place. They packed into the rows and chattered away like youngsters on a sleigh ride. The smattering of husbands accompanying their wives sat hunched over, clutching their hats two-­handed, pretending a lack of interest. The fact is, they were all there because this trial is the most exciting thing that’s happened around here since the great train heist of ’93. Well, who can begrudge them the diversion and entertainment my trial offers?

But such a bleak place the courtroom was, with plain, stiff-­backed chairs in the jury box and pew benches for onlookers. Bare lightbulbs hung from twisted brown cords and lit the room as bright as new snow. All the sounds around me—­the bailiff’s clacking heels, my lawyer and his associate’s whispered exchanges, and the buzz of conversation from the crowd—­bounced off the high, unadorned white walls like the bleats of animals shut up in a barn.

I took my seat on the hardwood chair next to my attorney, greeted him, and smoothed the folds of my skirt. Through the tall windows lining the room, only bare, spindly treetops could be glimpsed, as if the architect intended to intimidate with narrow, jail-­style windows. Radiators pinged, wafting the tinny scent of melting snow on their waves.

The bailiff announced, “All rise,” and the assembly shuffled to its feet. Judge Flanagan strutted in, his black gown trailing over the bench steps.

And so began my trial. Now, I’ve made a bargain with you, gentle reader, and I intend to keep my end of it. I will tell you my story—­all of it—­and truthfully, as I’ve never been able to tell anyone before. Then you can decide: Were my actions justified? You, my discerning reader, are the most important juror. You have the advantage of hearing the whole story, straight from the one who lived it. So I say to you now, without hesitation or compunction, hear me out, and then you be the judge.

Continues...

Excerpted from Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio Copyright © 2013 by Maryka Biaggio. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1.  In the first paragraph May says, “You and I, my new friend, will become well acquainted over the course of this tale.”  How well do you think you really know May by the end of the novel?
2.  At the end of the first chapter May explains, “I will tell you my story—all of it—and truthfully, as I’ve never been able to tell anyone before.” Is she always honest and, if not, what gives her away?
3.  What do Frank’s letters imply about the nature of the relationship between her and May? Can we trust Frank’s portrayal of her relationship with May?
4.  What kind of influence did May’s childhood have on her?
5.  To what extent do you believe May’s actions were motivated by a desire to serve her family? And do you think May considers this a justification for her actions?
6.  Do you believe May really loved any of the men she met during her travels? Did she ever find true love?
7.  What does the yellow diamond necklace symbolize to May? What does it mean to you?
8.  Were Pinkerton Detective Reed Dougherty charges of blackmail, spying, and extortion justified, or was he, as May contends, interfering in personal matters outside the province of the law?
9. Did May learn anything over the course of her adventures and trials? If so, what lessons did she learn?
10. At the close of the opening chapter, May exhorts the reader to hear her out and then be the judge. What is your verdict on May and her dealings with Frank and the men in her world?
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    Parlor Games, written in the first person voice of May Dugas, g


    Parlor Games, written in the first person voice of May Dugas, gives away the game with a neat device in the opening paragraph. May starts by trying to sweet-talk the reader. We know her "inner" character immediately--she's a con-artist. May moves through this book with her eye always on the main-chance; if she's smart enough to survive, why shouldn't she prosper at the same time. May is developed in terms of actions and I can't think of a better way to explore a sociopathic personality. The driving force of May Dugas' life is action/reaction, not inner reflection. She careens from one cliff-hanger to another--sometimes improving her financial or social status along the way.
    May is quick witted, a quick study,has "gumption", and is determined not to live life as a poor person if better odds are within reach. Using her beauty (and the charm she picks up along the way) as a tool upon rich men, she repeatedly improves her odds. But, rich men are not without their own weapons; throughout the book, May is haunted by a Pinkerton detective, hired by rich men. The Pinkerton man often drives the crises in this book, which in turn drive the non-stop action.
    Another interesting characteristic of this book is attention to period detail--architecture, clothing, luxury items, etc. May Dugas, the quick study, picks up on the details she needs to know to move in her preferred circles. She sees the surface details of the life of the rich and absorbs them almost by osmosis--that is her character development.
    As a fan of Patricia Highsmith's Ripley series (and the TV series Dexter), I enjoyed May Dugas' story for the guilty pleasure of rooting for a charming and quick-witted criminal (though May omitted murder from her bag of tricks). What's amazing is that May was real and the major events in Parlor Games did happen. Using the major true events as a framework, the author has invented and fleshed out a convincingly engaging story of the in-between events that get May Dugas from major event A to major event B and so on.
    This is a fast-paced and fun read telling of the roller coaster life of a genuine picaresque "heroine".

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    What a great trip I just came back from and I didn't even need t

    What a great trip I just came back from and I didn't even need to leave my couch.  Grab "Parlor Games" and experience life with May from her humble home in Menominee to many exquisite  hotels throughout the world.  I loved the journey that Ms Biaggio created for me.  The shenanigans of May will make you laugh out  loud.  I can't wait to share this book with my book-club as it will spark many lively discussions.  Well done Maryka Biaggio!!! BRAVO

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 12, 2013

    Rating 4.5 I read this book as part of my monthly book group me

    Rating 4.5

    I read this book as part of my monthly book group meeting. May Dugas was an actual woman pursued for ten years across several continents by the same Pinkerton Detective. Her trial in Chicago is well documented and the detective gave a full account of his pursuit to a Chicago Times journalist in 1940. The detective referred to her as: "The most dangerous woman in the world". Yet she never killed anyone and, as far as we know, never actually stole money from anyone. What she did do was use her seductive powers to bring herself into the orbit of wealthy men and then spent their money rather recklessly for her own gain. She is what we might call today a social climber—albeit a very clever and calculating one.

    The book is written in the first person, interweaving the actual trial with backstory chapters where May describes what “really” happened that got her to that trial. Normally I don’t like this kind of alternating chapters style, but this was well done and I believe a great choice to tackle this material and this particular woman. The trial chapters give the reader a different view of events from what May describes. The reader is immediately pulled in to May’s view of her innocence. One can’t help but admire her initial desire to help her family, and the difficulties of being a woman in a man’s world—where you have little rights to property or other possessions without marriage.

    As with any unreliable narrator, even when I thought I was being conned I still wanted to root for her to be found innocent. Even though I didn’t really trust her, I often found myself asking, if she were a man would she have been on trial at all? May certainly uses her feminine beauty and seductive powers to get what she wanted. I found her to be passionate, totally self-centered, and yet tantalizingly cunning and constant in marching toward her goals. Coming from a poor background in the midst of the gilded age at the turn of the century, May understood all too well that society judged one’s worth by possessions rather than character.

    The writing is solid, the research is amazing, and the way in which May’s character is slowly revealed to the reader makes this a great psychological study of perception and rationalization on both May’s part and the men of that time. The only reason I couldn’t give this book a clear 5 is that I did find myself losing interest a little after the midpoint due to the repetitive nature of her life—seduce someone, buy more things, leave and move onto someone else. She did travel to many places in the world as she climbed to the top rungs of society. I hung in because I was invested in seeing how the trail would turn out and how May would take her just desserts.

    I’m glad I stayed with it to the end because I believe it is true to the actual events as much as possible and, for me, justice was served. Perhaps even May learned something and gave something back to the world. I won’t reveal how she does give back because you must read the book first. Definitely well done and I would definitely read another book by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Totally entertaining story

    I love this book....I still have the last 75 pages to read. It is one of those books that although you can't put it down, you don't want to finish it.
    Great character development. A fast paced adventure. You just imagine yourself right in the plot living her adventures. Would love to read more of Maryka Biaggio

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 2, 2013

    Highly Recommended - a great adventure.

    I enjoyed this book very much. The many adventures May had in her lifetime were ahead of the times. I would have liked to have been her assistant and travel right along.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    Fantastic

    A page turner! Kept me interested from page one to finish. A 5 star all the way.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    I have wondered how they pull it off

    You hear sometimes in the news of women who live by their beauty and their wits. This book gives you some idea of how.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Parlor Games.  The main character o

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Parlor Games.  The main character of May Dugas is lively, interesting  and very well drawn.  The period is accurately described.  The book held my interest from beginning to end. It’s a real page turner.  I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, particularly works with a formidable female protagonist. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    Parlor Games is an extremely well-written book by first-time aut

    Parlor Games is an extremely well-written book by first-time author Biaggio. The protagonist really existed which makes the story all the more compelling. Who was the real May Dugas? We'll never really know but this book creates an unforgettable portrait of a singular woman who lived in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Enthusiastically recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 3, 2013

    This is a fun story and definitely evocative of the time and set

    This is a fun story and definitely evocative of the time and setting. The main character seems to entrap and trick everyone she interacts with, even the reader at some points. If you like historical fiction about women and being transported to a different time and place through storytelling, you will probably enjoy this book. My one complaint is the ending - it felt like the author simply stopped writing, instead of providing a definitive conclusion to May's story. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)