Whistling In The Darkby Tamara Allen
New York City, 1919. His career as a concert pianist ended by a war injury, Sutton Albright returns to college, only to be expelled after a scandalous affair with a teacher. Unable to face his family, Sutton heads to Manhattan with no plans and little money in his pocket but with a desire to call his life his own. Jack Bailey lost his parents to influenza and now
New York City, 1919. His career as a concert pianist ended by a war injury, Sutton Albright returns to college, only to be expelled after a scandalous affair with a teacher. Unable to face his family, Sutton heads to Manhattan with no plans and little money in his pocket but with a desire to call his life his own. Jack Bailey lost his parents to influenza and now hopes to save the family novelty shop by advertising on the radio, a medium barely more than a novelty, itself. His nights are spent in a careless and debauched romp through the gayer sections of Manhattan. When these two men cross paths, despite a world of differences separating them, their attraction cannot be denied. Sutton finds himself drawn to the piano, playing for Jack. But can his music heal them both, or will sudden prosperity jeopardize their chance at love?
- Lethe Press
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- 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)
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It's 1919, and an overseas war injury ended Sutton Albrecht's promising future as a concert pianist. He returns to college, only to be expelled after the discovery of his affair with a male teacher, disgracing his socially-prominent family he leaves behind, and ends up alone in New York City, a city desperate to party in those final months before nationwide prohibition, hoping for a fresh start. He loses one dead-end job, seemingly to find another one, playing the piano and helping out at a failing novelty shop run by Jack Bailey, about his age and also a war veteran, who inherited the shop from his parents. Taking care of the daily business of the shop is Harry, his parents' longtime employee, who takes Jack under his wing and tries to deter him from his seeming compulsion to spend too many nights partying and getting into trouble. Despite their obviously different backgrounds, Jack and Sutton are drawn to each other, recognizing each other as soulmates damaged in body and soul by a war and a world that doesn't understand them, and a loving relationship develops among the chaos in their daily lives. There are threats from small time hoods to whom Jack owes money, a dream to take an impromptu radio broadcast of Sutton's piano playing into the big time, lack of faith from neighbors who have seen Jack fail before, and even occasional appearances by Woody, an elderly but feisty crocodile kept by one of Jack's employees in the shop's backyard. The relationship is something they both want and need, but are they doomed to failure to keep it going when either or both of them manage to rise above the barebones existence that caused them to meet? "Whistling In The Dark" is an outstandingly original, well-written and engrossing love story, set in a time when such stories rarely came out with happy endings. It perfectly captures the personalities of the numerous and diverse, realistic characters, the atmosphere of New York City before it began to "roar" into the 1920's, and serves as proof to younger readers that gay pride didn't really start with Stonewall. I absolutely loved this book, and look forward to others from this talented storyteller. Absolutely, nothing less than a full five tuneful stars out of five!
"Whistling in the Dark" (despite a title that truly does not accurately reflect the storyline) is an excellently written novel with a setting and characters that ring true. This is a most original tale. Sutton and Jack make memorable main characters, and their relationship is sweet and winsome. If you are looking for something with steamy sex scenes, this novel isn't it. Other than that, give Tamara Allen's book a chance.
I have to admit I had a bit of a hard getting into this one but it was no fault of the author. I just wasn't ready to let go of the characters of the previous book I had finished. But by the time I was finished with chapter 3 or 4 I was hooked. Sutton and Jack may have been from opposites ends of the spectrum as far as their upbringing and background but they were more alike than either of them realized. It's pretty clear that they are both better off together than either was alone. If you're a fan of historical fiction mixed with romance, then this is definitely a book for you. I hadn't read anything by this author but after finishing Whistling, I went on to read three more and will definitely be checking out others as well.